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Lance Berkman to begin rehab assignment tonight at Class AAA Memphis

Injury plagued Cardinals first baseman Lance Berkman is expected tonight to begin an injury rehab at Class AAA Memphis.

He is expected to remain there for about a week before rejoining the major league club.

Berkman was an offensive force for the Redbirds in 2011 with a .301 batting average, 31 homers and 94 RBIs. But he's had persistent trouble with his knees this year and it had limited him to a .267 batting average, two homers and seven RBIs in 24 games.

The 36-year-old veteran tried after having knee surgery earlier this year to return  to the big league club without the benefit of a minor league rehab and Berkman seemed to struggle to regain his timing after the long layoff. He also apparently aggravated his other surgically repaired knee while trying to compensate for the pain in the one most recently operated upon.

It seems Berkman is probably going to be a pinch hitter who is available to play a couple of times a week. But if he's healthy and ready, he could be a pretty valuable chess piece off a weak Cardinals bench. And his presence in the dugout is huge for the younger players on the squad who look to him as a leader.

Hopefully, as we enter the last month and a half of the season, there is still a chance for the Birds to get a solid return on their $12 million investment in the aging slugger.

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