Lance Berkman Could Return To the Active Roster As Early As Saturday

The St. Louis Cardinals are dealing with another Lance Berkman injury, but just for a little bit longer?

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19 Total Updates since May 20, 2012
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Lance Berkman Injury: ACL Tear Not Found, St. Louis Cardinals Slugger Will Return In 2012

The St. Louis Cardinals finally got the good news they'd been waiting for in the never-ending Lance Berkman injury saga: surgeons going in to repair his torn meniscus Friday discovered he hadn't torn his ACL, an injury that would have definitely ended his season and possibly ended his career. His meniscus repaired, Berkman is now likely to miss two months, give or take a couple of weeks, before the Cardinals can count on his return. But it looks like he will return—and in a season so snakebitten as this one, that qualifies as good news.

With Allen Craig and Matt Carpenter also on the disabled list—Craig has a hamstring injury, Carpenter a strained oblique—the Cardinals have been relying on Matt Adams, their rookie first baseman, to pick up the slack. Those three will soak up the bulk of the at-bats through July, when the Cardinals will begin to think about Berkman's role in their stretch run.

Berkman was vital to the Cardinals' World Series run in 2011, hitting .301/.412/.547 with 31 home runs and 94 RBI as their starting right fielder after suffering similar knee problems in 2010. In 2012 he's hit .333/.429/.571 in just 13 games, limited not only by this injury but by an earlier calf problem that caused him to miss most of April.

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Lance Berkman Injury: Surgery Thursday Could Find ACL Damage

The only confirmed Lance Berkman injury surgeons will be dealing with on Thursday as they repair his right knee is a torn meniscus, but there could be more going on under the skin—they'll also be looking for a torn ACL, which wasn't found on the first MRI but could still be lurking underneath the swelling. If the problem is limited to Berkman's meniscus the St. Louis Cardinals' slugger could be back in less than two months. If the ACL is torn, though, Berkman could miss the season—and will once more have to consider the possibility of retirement.

Before the injury—limited by an unrelated calf problem that caused him to miss most of April—Berkman was hitting .333/.429/.571 with five doubles, a triple, and a home run in 49 plate appearances spread out over 13 games. In his place the Cardinals have relied on Matt Carpenter and Allen Craig—also injured—and now the hulking prospect Matt Adams.

For more on Lance Berkman's injury troubles, follow along on our storystream, which will be updated throughout the day.

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Legopiece Theater: Dugout Abbey: Albert Pujols And Dee Dee Check In

On a very special episode of Legopiece Theater: Dugout Abbey, Albert Pujols contemplates what Lance Berkman's injury and St. Louis Cardinals tenure may mean to his own life.

And someone may end up drinking from a toilet.

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Lance Berkman Injury: St. Louis Cardinals Avoid The Worst News On Berkman's Knee, So Far

The St. Louis Cardinals avoided the worst diagnosis from Lance Berkman's injury Monday—his knee injury is severe, but a preliminary MRI showed only a torn meniscus, and not the torn ACL that was the worst fear of Berkman, the Cardinals, Cardinals fans, and people who just like to watch good hitters hit. Of course, there's a complicating factor in the background of all this cautious celebrating: According to dot-com reporter Jenifer Langosch Berkman himself still believes there's something wrong with his ACL.

"All of the information that I'm getting, plus what I felt, leads me to believe there is an issue with the ACL," Berkman said. "I'm hoping that's not the case, but I'm not sure that's the case."

If that's not the case, the Cardinals would lose Berkman for the rest of the season; if not, he could miss up to two months recovering from the surgery to repair his meniscus. In the meantime, the Cardinals will rotate Allen Craigalso currently injuredMatt Carpenter, and the recently promoted Matt Adams through first base.

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Lance Berkman Talks Retirement After Possible ACL Injury

Just last year the St. Louis Cardinals saw a renaissance from Lance Berkman, who set a new career-high in OPS+ at 35 and had a crucial hit in the Cardinals' improbable Game 6 victory in the World Series. This year Berkman's talking retirement after suffering an injury that appears to be a torn ACL. Joe Strauss of the Post-Dispatch got the quote that's set things up in such serious terms:

If I've re-torn my ACL or something like that, I'd certainly get it fixed but you don't know how psychologically you're going to come back from something like that..

Berkman has already torn his right ACL once before—in the offseason after the Houston Astros' 2004 loss to the Cardinals in the NLCS, apparently playing flag football. Since then he's suffered additional knee injuries, including the ones that made him so affordable after a let-down 2010 season split between the Astros and the New York Yankees.

The Cardinals spent some of their Albert Pujols dividend on three veterans with injury problems in the offseason—so far Rafael Furcal has been a major success, with Carlos Beltran looking outstanding in the face of increasing knee soreness. But Lance Berkman looks to have gotten the worst possible news this weekend.

For up-to-the-minute updates on Lance Berkman's knee injury and the status of Matt Adams, his replacement on the roster, follow our Lance Berkman storystream.

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Lance Berkman Injury: Early Reports Suggest ACL Tear Likely For Cardinals First Baseman

The latest Lance Berkman injury news is bad, according to St. Louis Post-Dispatch writer Joe Strauss: He's tweeting that the P-D is reporting the worst possible news ahead of Berkman's scheduled MRI, with the St. Louis Cardinals slugger suffering a second torn ACL.

Berkman tore his ACL—in the same knee—for the first time during the 2004 offseason, apparently while playing flag football. He talked retirement in the face of this possible diagnosis over the weekend, but that probably won't affect the Cardinals either way; if he's really torn his ACL, he's likely to miss the season. Nevertheless it's tough to hear from one of baseball's best hitters over the last decade, who as recently as 2011 set a career-high in OPS+ and saved Game 6 of the World Series with a crucial RBI single.

For more about Berkman, follow along on our storystream, where we'll post the latest news; "like" it and we'll deliver those new posts discreetly and directly to your Facebook wall.

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Matt Adams Strong In St. Louis Cardinals Debut

The St. Louis Cardinals could have lost Lance Berkman for a while, but Matt Adams, their top prospect at first base, made a strong debut Sunday, going 2-4 and scoring a run in their loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Neither single was quite of the booming, this-is-why-he's-a-top-prospect variety, but they showed Adams's surprisingly free-swinging style as a hitter at its best and worst.

We've already run a get-to-know-Matt-Adams piece, in case you missed it, but you're likely to see plenty more of his work as the Cardinals continue to find a way to weather the potentially permanent loss of Lance Berkman and the temporary loss of Allen Craig. Matt Carpenter, who could also see some time in relief of a slumping David Freese, could be the Cardinals' choice-by-default against the left-handed Clayton Richard for their series opener against the San Diego Padres on Monday, but Adams is likely to start against familiar right-handers Edinson Volquez and Jeff Suppan over the next two days.

More St. Louis Cardinals coverage hand-picked by the editors of SB Nation St. Louis:

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MLB Rumors: Adam Lind Waived; Could He Help St. Louis Cardinals?

Placed on outright waivers by the Toronto Blue Jays, Adam Lind could make sense for the St. Louis Cardinals in the wake of Lance Berkman's injury.

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