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Cardinals lineup “juggling” may mean less Lance Berkman

Jul 24, 2012, 12:12 PM EDT

berkman ap AP

Lance Berkman has started five of eight games since returning from knee surgery and both the switch-hitting first baseman and manager Mike Matheny indicated that the reduced workload may be a long-term plan.

Not only is keeping the 36-year-old healthy a big consideration, the Cardinals have a logjam of capable hitters and Berkman explained to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch that he’s perfectly fine giving up at-bats to guys like Allen Craig:

We’ve got a surplus of guys now for our lineup spots. Everybody deserves to play, really. You could make the case that everybody but me deserves to play. I’m OK with that. I think the development of young guys is fun to watch and I don’t want to retard AC’s development in any way. He’s certainly earned a place in the lineup.

Throughout his career Berkman has been much better against right-handed pitching, so giving him regular days off versus left-handers would seemingly be the easiest solution for what Matheny called “a lot of juggling going on.”

Berkman has struggled since coming off the disabled list, but overall this season he’s hit .281 with an .847 OPS in 21 games after being one of the NL’s best hitters last year.

  1. stlouis1baseball - Jul 24, 2012 at 12:55 PM

    The extendtend time off also can’t hurt his legs. The extra BP (during this time) is also just what he needs to work on that bat speed he admittedly needs to improve.

  2. ajcardsfan - Jul 24, 2012 at 1:03 PM

    I think that’s what I like most about Berkman, he doesn’t let his ego get in the way of sound judgement. I hope he has a few more years of his career, because he’s always been fun to watch play…even when we played against him when he was with the Astros

  3. okwhitefalcon - Jul 24, 2012 at 2:15 PM

    Interesting comments by Puma, it’ll be interesting to see how they handle things down the stretch.

    Roster moves seem to be iminent within the next week, if Brian Fuentes conitnues as he’s done so far on his “get back to form” assignment he’ll be with the Cards by the weekend. It’s sounding like they’ll go with 3 lefties in the pen with the odd man out being Marte.

    Lots of rumblings that Tyler Greene’s days could be done sooner than later as well, they’d obviously prefer packaging him a deal but speculating media (who have an idea usually) seem to think a DFA
    isn’t out of the realm.

    The clock is ticking, Kershaw/Dodgers tonight in STL with Cincy in Houston – we can all do the math on that one.

  4. stlouis1baseball - Jul 24, 2012 at 2:31 PM

    I hear you Falcon. Kershaw is going to be tough. Here’s to hoping the Pirates get beat again.
    Back to the roster:
    We need to make a move with the Pitching staff. Brian Fuentes or no Brian Feuntes.
    A solid mid rotation guy is something that is sorely needed to have any hope of the playoffs.

    • okwhitefalcon - Jul 24, 2012 at 3:56 PM

      As Mozeliak has mentioned recently, they don’t see a rotation move as a priority unless it frees up someone (Joe Kelly?) currently to move into the roll that Lance Lynn played last year in the 7th/8th as a bridge to Jason Motte.

      Maybe they’re already found that guy in Trevor Rosenthal? Way too early to tell but the kid has looked sharp so far when called upon.

      Here’s some interesting numbers per Bernie Miklasz, starting pitching hasn’t been the issue of late:

      “Cardinals starters continue to pitch well; rotation has 2.97 ERA in last 39 games.”

      “Through May 11, Victor Marte had a 2.57 ERA, 149 BA allowed. In last 29 games, 5.55 ERA, .346 BA and 48 runners allowed in 24.1 IP.”

      “Since June 1, Cardinals have scored 3 runs or fewer in 25 of 45 games.”

      Very telling..

      • stlouis1baseball - Jul 24, 2012 at 4:18 PM

        That June 1 hitting (or lack of hitting) stat is very telling indeed.
        I thought they were buyers (and openly stated as much).
        Apparently Mo has decided otherwise.

      • okwhitefalcon - Jul 24, 2012 at 4:40 PM

        I think they’re still buyers, but I’m not sure exactly what they’re in the market for or how willing they are to part with what it takes to put any kind of blockbuster together.

        They definitely have what it takes prospect wise to get whomever is dangled by any seller but the question remains how far they will go to do so.

        Good baseball theatre for sure.

  5. okwhitefalcon - Jul 24, 2012 at 10:42 PM

    Fuentes threw a scoreless frame with 2K’s in tonights outing with AA Springfield, another inning is scheduled for tomorrow and move to STL expected Thursday per Jeff Gordon.

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