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Lance Berkman hasn’t ruled out playing again this season

Sep 20, 2012, 10:47 AM EDT

berkman getty Getty Images

When it comes to the Cardinals and season-ending surgeries apparently “season-ending” doesn’t actually mean much of anything.

Chris Carpenter is set to return tomorrow from what was supposed to be “season-ending” surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome and now Lance Berkman is thinking about possibly returning from “season-ending” knee surgery. And in Berkman’s case he went under the knife just two weeks ago.

Here’s what the Cardinals first baseman said yesterday, via Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post Dispatch:

I’m not ruling out a return by the end of the regular season the way it feels, but I’m not ruling it in either. I’m hopeful that if I can get the swelling calmed down and if I can get a little strength back in there and if I can get in the batting cage and see how it feels there … all these are big “ifs” … but I don’t think it’s out of the realm of possibility.

Even if Berkman ultimately can’t return before this season is over that leaves the door wide open for the 36-year-old playing in 2013. When asked about that, Berkman cited “a lot of factors involved” in his recovery and added that “I’m holding off to the point in the offseason where I can see what kind of interest there is.”

At this point in his career moving to the American League as a full-time designated hitter would seemingly make the most sense, as it would keep Berkman’s still-productive bat in the lineup while lessening the wear and tear on his body.

With the Astros moving to the AL a reunion with his former team could be a fit for everyone involved, but Berkman downplayed that possibility to Brian McTaggart of MLB.com: “Obviously that’s been talked about. I’m not ruling anything out, but by the same token, as I sit today, it’s not something that I’m super interested in.”

  1. unlost1 - Sep 20, 2012 at 10:54 AM

    send him to the new american league houston astros!

    • stlouis1baseball - Sep 20, 2012 at 11:00 AM

      It would be great if he was healthy enough to come back next year and play a productive role.
      If that means DH’ing for Houston (or anyone else)…so be it.
      I would like to see him go out on his own terms…while still having a little left in the tank.

      • baccards - Sep 20, 2012 at 12:32 PM

        I agree – When he first came to the Cardinals I wasn’t sure about him, having “hated” him for his penchant for beating up Cardinal pitching…He has proven homself to be not only a very good player but also a very good teammate and person. One can only wish him the best.

  2. baseballisboring - Sep 20, 2012 at 11:26 AM

    If this is it, he’d retire with a .296/.409/.544 line, 360 home runs, 412 doubles, 1,843 hits, and a 1,248 to 1,163 K/BB ratio. Didn’t contribute a whole lot on defense…is there a HoF argument for him?

  3. makeham98 - Sep 20, 2012 at 11:47 AM

    Compare his numbers to Dwight Evans’. That should answer his hof question.

    • baseballisboring - Sep 20, 2012 at 11:58 AM

      Yeah, Berkman was a better player, just wasn’t around as long as Evans was, which I guess is why I’m asking. I’m a big peak guy so I think I’d vote Berkman in, but I feel like the lack of counting stats will hurt him…nothing really “sexy” about 360 bombs or 1,800 hits from a HoF standpoint. But the triple slash line is HoF worthy for any position, and again, IF this is it for him, he will have retired at 36 with probably a couple more productive seasons in front of him.

  4. kevinbnyc - Sep 20, 2012 at 12:51 PM

    A little off topic, but I feel like the league should have an expansion draft for the poor Astros. Next year may be MUCH tougher than this year on them.

  5. raysfan1 - Sep 20, 2012 at 1:23 PM

    I know an AL team that can use a good hitter who can play some 1B…come to the Rays, Lance!

  6. makeham98 - Sep 20, 2012 at 1:51 PM

    I think Dewey was a really good player who compiled very good career numbers and was a top defensive outfielder. But no hall of famer, he was probably never the best player on his own team. And if his numbers aren’t good enough, I can’t see how Berkman’s are.

    Another is Dave Parker, who could/should have been a HOFer if he had stayed clean. His numbers are also comparable.

    IMO none belong in. Parker was sooooo good.

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