Although they're still awaiting official confirmation today from an MRI, the Cardinals apparently believe that Lance Berkman has suffered a torn ACL and his season is probably over.
Berkman crumpled to the ground after an odd play at first base Saturday against the Dodgers. There was no collision, no sudden move. He simply bent to take a throw at first base and came up hopping like someone gave him a hot foot.
While the Cardinals were wondering a week ago how they would find enough at-bats for Berkman, Allen Craig and Carlos Beltran with the three of them splitting first base and right field, now all three players are injured and the Redbirds are struggling to fill the holes.
Craig is back on the disabled list after sending the first month of the season there and Beltran has been struggling to stay on the field with a balky knee and problems with his feet.
Maybe the three players wouldn't have been happy playing two-thirds of the time. But the chances of them staying healthy over the long haul would have been much better with regular rest. And now there is going to be a lot less of that. The Birds can only hope that Craig returns quickly from a pulled hamstring and that Beltran can hold it all together throughout the season... And that's not even addressing the fact that the Cardinals are also without hot hitting centerfielder Jon Jay and ace starting pitcher Chris Carpenter.
I believe that Berkman's clubhouse presence as much as his bat were key to the Redbirds winning the 2011 World Series. His optimistic enthusiasm changed the whole personality of what previously was a pretty sour team. So he's going to be terribly missed if doctors deliver bad news and Berkman follows through on talk that he might retire. It would be nice for the Birds to be able to save two-thirds or so of Berkman's $12 million salary to reinvest in other areas of the team -- we're looking at you, bullpen. But veteran leadership
It sure seemed like a bad sign when the team moved so quickly to call up first base prospect Matt Adams. And the tone around the team sure seems like the worst will be realized.