Buzz: Berkman gets extra day off

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Rangers manager Ron Washington gave Lance Berkman a second straight day off Monday night, giving his designated hitter a chance to get "good and fresh."

Berkman was replaced at DH by 20-year old Jurickson Profar. Berkman will be back in the lineup on Tuesday as the DH, Washington said.

"I don't mind," Berkman said when asked about getting back-to-back days off. "It gives me a day to regroup."

Berkman is having a mechanical issue when he bats left-handed, he said, and the extra day gives him a chance to work out the kinks. He's having trouble straightening his front leg when he bats left-handed, and Berkman believes that is impacting his bat speed, and thus his power. He's had four surgeries on the right knee.

"I want to make things as good as they have been in the past," Berkman said. "It's hard for me to straighten out my front leg when I hit left-handed. It's something that is impacting my bat speed."

He's hit three home runs in 154 at-bats batting left-handed. The left side has always been Berkman's stronger side. For his career, Berkman has hit a home run left-handed every 15.5 at-bats. He said he's not having an issue with pain in the right knee. It's just something that is impacting his foundation when he swings.

Berkman recalled the 2005 season after he had ACL surgery when he struggled to hit for power most of the season. He hit 11 home runs in September and two more in the playoffs as Houston made it to the World Series.

"It's one of those things," Berkman said.

Profar youngest DH: Profar became the youngest player in Rangers history to start a game as the designated hitter, beating out Sammy Sosa by 114 days. Profar is 20 years, 117 days old entering Monday's game against Oakland. Sosa was 20 years, 231 days old on July 1, 1989 when was the DH and led off. He went 3-for-4 with an RBI in a 1-0 win over the Mariners.

Since the DH was introduced in 1973, the only players as young as Profar to start at DH were Oakland's Claudell Washington (1974), Minnesota's Butch Wynegar (1976) and Tampa Bay's B.J. Upton in 2004.

Soria close to rehab assignment: Rehabbing reliever Joakim Soria threw 35 to 40 pitches in a bullpen session Monday and said he felt good. He may be ready to start a rehab assignment Thursday with Double-A Frisco.

"I feel ready," Soria said. "My command is good."

Lewis throws off mound: Right-hander Colby Lewis threw a bullpen session Monday as he tries to again to work his way back into the Rangers' starting rotation. Lewis hadn't thrown off a mound since late May.

Baker still out: Utility man Jeff Baker (sprained right thumb) wasn't available Monday, even in a pinch-hitting role. But Washington said Baker could be back on Wednesday or Thursday. The Rangers face left-hander Tommy Milone on Wednesday. The manager also said Baker will not need to go on the 15-day disabled list.