The St. Louis Cardinals felt pretty good about losing Albert Pujols -- or well enough, anyway -- because they had Lance Berkman at hand, available to shift from right field to Pujols's old spot at first base. In fact, that might have been the plan all along.
Either way, it worked out really well!
For about two weeks. Berkman hit like Babe Ruth, while Pujols was hitting like Mario Mendoza with his new team, the Whatevers of Whatever. Then Berkman hurt his knee, and eventually Pujos started hitting like Pujols.
Berkman opened the season with the Cardinals, played for a week, went on the Disabled List, came back and played for another week, and now he's been out of action since the 19th of May.
Good news, though:
Berkman will go to Cincinnati with the club and hopes to be activated as early as Saturday. Said there was no need for a rehab assignment.— B.J. Rains (@BJRains) July 12, 2012
Oddly enough, the Cardinals haven't really missed Berkman, who was their best hitter last year. In his absence, Allen Craig -- who entered the season without a regular job -- has played more first base than anyone, and this year he has been the Cardinals' best hitter.
Which, with Berkman coming back, leaves manager Mike Matheny with more good hitters than he can really use. Oh, and that's not even considering rookie Matt Carpenter, who's also played some first base and also been really good. If only one of the Cardinals' first basemen could play center field or second base.