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Lance Berkman Says Cardinals Are Free To Move On With Allen Craig

St. Louis Cardinals veteran slugger Lance Berkman hasn't quite been himself since returning from knee surgery, and he knows it might be time for the team to move on and play youngster Allen Craig a bit more. Over the past week, Berkman has played less than usual and most of that has to do with his lack of performance at the plate. During the month of July, he owns a .182/.280/.273 triple-slash batting line and he has just four hits over 22 at-bats. The 36-year-old first baseman recently told Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that anyone could "make the case that everybody but me deserves to play," and added that he would be okay if the team wants to move on:

"I think the development of young guys is fun to watch and I don't want to retard AC's (Allen Craig's) development in any way. He's certainly earned a place in the lineup."

"My career is complete as far as I'm concerned. Not that I wouldn't love to win another championship. Not that I wouldn't love to be out there every day and be productive. But if that is not the case, I'm not that upset about it. If they think AC gives them a better chance to win as a first baseman, I'm all for it. I'll do everything to help him."

Are those the words of a media-savvy veteran biding his time for a late-season surge, or a 13-year MLB veteran realizing he's on the decline and may never be himself at the plate again? It's a tough call.

For updates, stay tuned to SB Nation St. Louis. For more in-depth coverage of this series, visit St. Louis Cardinals blog Viva El Birdos and Dodgers blog True Blue LA. And for more from around baseball, check out MLB Daily Dish and Baseball Nation.