The best-case scenario for Lance Berkman is that he returns to the St. Louis Cardinals’ lineup after the All-Star break.
But the 36-year-old 1st baseman is ready for news on his injured right knee that isn’t so rosy.
GM John Mozeliak expounded that Berkman will be sidelined at least 6 to 8 weeks with significant cartilage damage on both sides of the knee, but an MRI did not appear to show ligament damage. As he was hurt making a routine play, Berkman suspects a ligament injury that will need more serious surgery and end his season — and maybe his career.
“At a minimum, it is a scope to repair it,” Mozeliak said. “We’re hopeful, we’re optimistic that’s what it is. But we are going to need a few days before we identify something. Actually, he knows there are doubtful times before him.”
Berkman spoke with journalists after crossing the clubhouse on crutches.
“We can all agree you shouldn’t get hurt just stretching for a ball at 1st base,” he said. “Fearful is the wrong word, but I’m actually concerned — not just what the injury is but why did it occur?
“It’s pretty simple: Best-case eventuality, it’s doubtless after the All-Star break, worst-case scenario is I’m done for the year.”
Berkman was placed on the 15-day disabled list Sunday. The NL comeback player of the year in 2011 realizes he might have to make another comeback, or call it a career.
“You definitely consider, if I must get my ACL repaired, I’d be done playing,” he said. “And the doctor kind of claimed that. He’s like, ‘Well, you are not a youngster any more.’
“You just do not know where you are going to be mentally. Am I willing to make the dedication? Those are query I am trying not to speculate on too much.”
Even if the ligament isn’t torn, Berkman believes there’s damage given he felt a sliding sensation when he was injured.
“They could see it on the MRI — it’s not gone. But its efficacy is debatable considering the way in which I got hurt. They aren’t going to know about that until I’m going under the knife,” he said.
Berkman has played just 13 games this season, also missing heavy time with a pulled left calf muscle. He said he has had torn cartilage in the knee since spring coaching but it wasn’t enough to affect his play.
He was batting .333 with a home run and 4 RBIs. NFL spreads
Last season, Berkman hit .301 with 31 homers and 94 RBIs in 145 games to help the Cardinals win the World Series. He had a .412 on-base percentage and a .547 slugging percentage, both of which ranked among the National League leaders.
His injury is a major blow to the middle of the lineup for the slumping Cardinals, who had dropped four straight and 8 of 10. St. Louis also lost longtime slugger Albert Pujols in the offseason when he agreed a $240 million, 10 year agreement with the L.A Angels.
However, the Cardinals commenced the day with a half-game lead in the National League Central.