Lance Berkman's injury has been far stubborner than expected—he tweaked his calf legging out a triple a month ago, back on April 10—but the St. Louis Cardinals could have their starting first baseman back Friday, when they return to St. Louis to play the Atlanta Braves in a weekend set.
Berkman played two games a week after the injury, going 2-7, but the trainers didn't like the way he was running and he's been kept on a tight leash since then to avoid reaggravating it. It hasn't been too much of an inconvenience: Matt Carpenter starred early, while Allen Craig is 9-27 with three doubles and three home runs since returning from the disabled list himself.
With Berkman back the Cardinals will—for a while, at least—be in the enviable position of having Too Many Hitters. That was the plan for this team all along: They can afford to rely on Lance Berkman and Carlos Beltran, because Allen Craig will always be standing behind one of them. Matt Carpenter's just been an unexpected bonus.
More St. Louis Cardinals updates from SB Nation St. Louis:
- Yadier Molina's hand injury probably won't send him to the disabled list. Which is good, because neither Tony Cruz nor Bryan Anderson has impressed since the backup catcher competition...
- Here, inexplicably, is an exhaustive history of the Fat Middle Infielder.