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Lance Berkman Injury: St. Louis Cardinals 1B Could Return Friday Vs. Braves

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.

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