After being placed on the 15-day disabled list just yesterday for another knee injury, Lance Berkman and many in the St. Louis Cardinals organization were concerned his career could be hanging in the balance.
Following an MRI earlier today, Berkman’s injury was diagnosed as a meniscus tear which will force him to miss a minimum of 6-8 weeks of action to allow for the healing and rehabilitation process to run its course. Given this timeline, Berkman could feasibly return to the Cardinals’ lineup sometime after the All-Star break in mid-July.
Off to a .333 start for the Cardinals in 2012, Berkman was primarily being used as a pinch hitter and in spot duty at first base prior to the injury.
While losing Lance Berkman isn’t dire for the Redbirds in terms of overall production, Berkman is a quality clubhouse guy who has been well-liked and respected during each of his stops in the majors. Where they will miss him is as a pinch-hitter in tight situations, a place Berkman has made his living the past few years as his career has started to wind down.
Had Berkman’s injury turned out to be something more severe– perhaps an ACL tear– it could have indeed marked the end of his time in the majors.
This is the unfortunate reality for many guys who have a career of injuries.
Each of them is only one bad break away from no longer being able to contribute to a ball club, and having to hang up the cleats before they are ready to do so.
Luckily for both Lance Berkman and the St. Louis Cardinals, this day is still far away.