Kevin Long Appreciation, The Berkman Edition

At age 34, Lance Berkman has started to feel his age this season as he has dealt with a few nagging injuries that have dragged his numbers down. His season in Houston was up and down and the first two weeks in the Bronx were just ugly.

Berkman went on the DL in the middle of August and before he came off the DL he started working with Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long in order to hit the ground running as soon as he was activated.

That work has paid off. Since returning from the DL on September 1st, Berkman has hit .370 with a .460 OBP, and a .942 OPS. His power hasn’t been overwhelming, but he does have three doubles in that stretch and finally hit his first homer as a Yankee last night so even that looks like it’s coming around.

Of course, Berkman gives all the credit to K-Long:

“When I first came over here, my swing was pretty flawed mechanically,” Berkman said. “I’d gotten into some real bad habits. Just working and trying to correct some of that with Kevin, I just feel more comfortable. I think my swing is working better.”

Considering the Yankees almost stole Berkman from the Astros, his pickup could be one of the best moves of Brian Cashman’s career. Especially if he becomes a weapon during the playoffs.

Hopefully he and Long can keep his game consistent and he keeps contributing the way he has over the last 20 games. Because the Berkman of September 2010 looks an awful lot like the Berkman of old.

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