Free agent Lance Berkman told Joseph Duarte of the Houston Chronicle (as reported via twitter) that the Red Sox are one of four teams in "tire-kicking mode" on the 36-year-old free agent. Berkman, who was introduced as a volunteer assistant coach at Rice University (his alma mater), has said that he will make a decision later in the offseason about whether to retire or continue playing. According to Duarte, the Sox, Rays, Phillies and Astros have shown interest in him.
"[T]hey feel like if I can stay healthy that I can help their ballclub and obviously that's flattering," Berkman told Duarte.
Berkman, a veteran of 14 seasons, played in just 32 contests in 2012 due to a right knee that required two surgeries. He was playing on a one-year, $12 million deal with the Cardinals. In 2011, however, he was a force for St. Louis, hitting .301/.412/.547/.959 with 31 homers in 145 gmes, numbers in line with a 14-year career withthe Astros, Yankees and Cardinals during which Berkman has hit .296/.409/.544/.953 with six All-Star berths and six top-10 finishes in MVP balloting.
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