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Report: Lance Berkman has a torn ACL, may consider retirement

May 21, 2012, 8:49 AM EDT

Lance Berkman, Mike Matheny AP

This is bad news and, if confirmed today, could spell the end of Lance Berkman‘s career.

Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch is reporting that the Cardinals’ “early diagnosis” is that Lance Berkman has suffered a torn ACL.  An MRI will be performed today to confirm.

Berkman was injured on Saturday night at Dodger Stadium while stretching for a throw at first base. He had to be helped off the field. Berkman told reporters yesterday that, if indeed he has torn his ACL, he may very well retire:

“If I’ve re-torn my ACL or something like that, I’d certainly get it fixed but you don’t know how psychologically you’re going to come back from something like that,” Berkman said. “I’m not talking from the standpoint of being scared of hurting it again. I’m talking about doing everything it takes to come back and play again at an elite level. I think that’s a legitimate question I’m going to have to answer if, in fact, it turns out to be something more serious than we hope that it is.”

This would obviously be a major blow to the Cardinals who, in letting Albert Pujols walk in free agency, had hoped to get another strong season out of Berkman at first base in his absence.  Of course, the potential replacements are all promising too: now it’s up to some combination of Allen Craig, prospect Matt Adams and Matt Carpenter.

  1. Kevin S. - May 21, 2012 at 9:04 AM

    Here’s to hoping it’s not torn, or, barring that, a successful recovery and return to his current playing level. I know some Yankee fans don’t care for him because he did nothing for the two months he spent in the Bronx, but he’s had an awesome, underrated career, and I was hoping he could make a late HOF push.

    • stlouis1baseball - May 21, 2012 at 9:07 AM

      One the all-time best switch hitters. No one can argue that.

      • derklempner - May 22, 2012 at 12:33 AM

        Agreed. I believe he’s third all-time for most home runs by a switch hitter, only trailing HOFer Mantle and future-HOFer Chipper Jones. He also has a career average of just under .300 with a career OPS of over .950. (There’s a great article comparing Berkman to Mantle and Jones at

        All that being said, I always enjoyed watching Berkman play, even when he was beating the tar out of my Cubs. He’s a great player who deserves better than ending his career because of an injury. Here’s hoping he can come back and finish it out the right way.

    • istillbelieveinblue - May 21, 2012 at 9:46 AM

      As a Cubs fan, I was very excited to see him leave Houston, then quite disappointed to see him return to the NL Central with St. Louis. He always seemed to crush Cub pitching, even when we had a good pitching staff. :)

  2. stlouis1baseball - May 21, 2012 at 9:06 AM

    Terrible news. Good luck on the surgery/recovery Lance.
    We appreciate your stay with the team and what you brought to the table.
    A reliable, productive, “team” player.
    From a Baseball standpoint…a very deep team as now become very thin…very quickly.

    • proudlycanadian - May 21, 2012 at 9:39 AM

      St. Louis has had more than its fair share on injuries this season.

      • paperlions - May 21, 2012 at 10:58 AM

        Yeah, their share seems to be getting “more fair” with each passing week.

  3. clankbot - May 21, 2012 at 9:40 AM

    (It’s Matt Carpenter, not Mike)

  4. dodger88 - May 21, 2012 at 9:41 AM

    Such an innocent looking play yet such a severe injury and unfortunate end to a fantastic career. Sometimes the baseball gods are simply unfair. Member of the Hall of Very Good at minimum.

  5. ajcardsfan - May 21, 2012 at 9:43 AM

    I hate to see this first thing Monday morning. Good luck Puma in whatever you do after/if you retire, I’m really hoping you’ll take Joe Buck’s announcement spot, I’ve got a feeling you’d make for a great announcer, or at least be better than him. Best wishes from all of STL

  6. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - May 21, 2012 at 9:53 AM

    What the hell is going on with ACLs this year? Was there some new conditioning trend this off-season that somehow compromised everyone’s ACL? This is ridiculous

    Alex Gonzalez
    Scott Sizemore
    Wilson Ramos

    • sdelmonte - May 21, 2012 at 10:32 AM

      It’s the injury of choice in every sport. Ask Derrick Rose. Or both NY Giants tight ends, who blew their ACLs out in the Super Bowl.

  7. stex52 - May 21, 2012 at 10:39 AM

    I really hate to see this. He was an elite player at Rice and then for MLB, a nice guy and a class act. I always doubted his making the HOF; never sure he would have the longevity to make the stats needed. It certainly doesn’t look like it now. I would say chances are he won’t be back, and baseball will miss him.

  8. bouwel92 - May 21, 2012 at 10:44 AM

    Wow, i hate to hear this. Ive always been a huge fan of the puma. And even though he went to play for the rival Cardinals i still cheered when he was up to bat. Hope it comes back negative and we can get to see a few more years of him playin.

  9. astrosfan75956 - May 21, 2012 at 10:45 AM

    Loved watching this man play the game, class act.

  10. materialman80 - May 21, 2012 at 2:02 PM

    Sure hate to hear that. I sure wish him the best. I know he spent most of his years in Houston, but we will have fond memories of him in St. Louis as well.

  11. Old Gator - May 21, 2012 at 2:38 PM

    It’d be an awful way to end a great career. Heal up and come back, Puma. It’s always a nerve-wracking frisson when you come to bat against the Feesh. Pure jouissance.

  12. foreverchipper10 - May 21, 2012 at 3:19 PM

    One of my absolute favorites. It would be a shame if he goes out this way.

  13. nixonincelebration - May 21, 2012 at 4:13 PM

    Baseball will be a little poorer without Lance Berkman.
    A First Class ball player, and person. Good Luck to him whatever the future brings.

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