For Berkman, plenty of adjustments

For Berkman, plenty of adjustments

NEW YORK -- The drive to Yankee Stadium didn't prove to be a problem for newly acquired designated hitter Lance Berkman. Navigating through the Yankees' clubhouse, however, was a different story.

Making his Yankee Stadium debut on Monday, Berkman -- acquired from the Astros prior to Saturday's non-waiver Trade Deadline -- joked with manager Joe Girardi that he could've used a map to find the clubhouse.

"I got the Astro routine down pat, and I can do it in my sleep," Berkman said. "I know what time the bus leaves, when to get my bags, who to talk to about any problems. Now, you're trying to learn the ropes. I'm just trying to fit in. All of those things go into being an emotional past 48 hours."

Girardi, of course, can empathize. As the Rockies' catcher in 1995, he was forced to completely readjust his life upon being traded from Colorado to the Yankees.

"It's an adjustment," Girardi said. "You're moving. You're moving your family. You're coming to a team where you don't know too many guys."

But there were a few familiar faces already recognized by Berkman. Playing in the National League Central, he regularly squared off against Austin Kearns and Kerry Wood -- who were also acquired by the Yankees in Deadline deals over the weekend -- during Kearns' time with the Reds and Wood's stint with the Cubs.

"It seems like we got a lot of the NL Central gang back around here," Berkman joked before the game. "That's comforting."

That's about the only similarity Berkman has noticed since coming to New York. On the trip back from a weekend series in St. Petersburg, Fla., Berkman said he experienced some problems picking up his bags and figuring out the team's bus schedule.

In addition to those changes, Berkman had to adjust to batting seventh in Monday's starting lineup, which marked the first time he's batted in that slot in his career. But that's a sacrifice the former Astros slugger will gladly make in order to pursue a World Series title.

"This is the worst season I've ever had offensively," Berkman said. "I'm hoping coming over here, working with [hitting coach Kevin] Long and getting around with these great hitters will help me find my swing again and get back to the level that I know I can still perform at.

"I don't know if I've ever hit seventh. I know I hit sixth before, but I also can't remember a time I've been on a team with, like, eight Hall of Famers."

-- Didier Morais