The St. Louis Cardinals are expecting the unexpected return of right hander Chris Carpenter soon, but the club will have to play out the string without first baseman Lance Berkman, who will undergo season-ending surgery on his knee on Tuesday.
Berkman has been dealing with knee issues all year long and they have limited him to just 31 games of action in 2012. Last month, while on rehab assignment with Triple-A Memphis, Berkman talked at length about the probability that this would be his final season.
Certainly, no one likes to go out this way, but many had figured Berkman to be washed up in 2010 when Houston dealt him to the Yankees. He enjoyed a resurgent season in 2011, helping boost the Cardinals to an unprecedented Wild Card run and to a World Series title.
A repeat performance was no in the cards for Berkman this season, however.
St. Louis has managed to stay ahead of the Dodgers and Pirates despite the loss of shortstop Rafeal Furcal and the recent slump of Carlos Beltran. Right hander Jake Westbrook is dealing his discomfort that will possibly cause him to miss the final couple weeks, so Carpenter couldn’t come back at a better time. Berkman had probably already lost his job to Allen Craig, who has had a great season in his place, but this is still a potent bat and one St. Louis will miss.
If this is the last we see of Lance Berkam as an active baseball player, it has been one heck of a career.
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