Berkman plays despite sore hand

Berkman plays despite sore hand

CINCINNATI -- A few eyebrows were raised when Lance Berkman, who has 23 career home runs at Great American Ball Park -- most of any active player -- was not listed on the Cardinals' original starting lineup for Monday's series opener against the Reds. Berkman is nursing a sore hand, but it turned out the lineup was posted prematurely.

Matt Carpenter was starting at first base in the initial version posted in the press box at Great American Ball Park. But manager Mike Matheny said he had Carpenter in the lineup only as a precaution, pending his conversation with Berkman, who was in the cleanup spot and started at first base.

"[Berkman's hand is] a little sore," Matheny said. "We've been very clear that we're going to listen to him. Today, we were just taking our time to see how it felt. He came in and gave it a good trial. He said it felt good."

Matheny said the injury occurred on an awkward swing during Saturday's game. Berkman didn't play in Sunday's game, but Matheny said that decision was based mostly on a poor matchup with Brewers left-hander Randy Wolf.

When asked about the condition of his hand prior to Monday's game, Berkman, seated at a table in the clubhouse clutching a newspaper, quipped, "My hand? I have some soreness. But I could use a hand with this crossword puzzle."

Berkman finished Monday's game 1-for-3, with two walks and two runs scored. He is hitting .308 for the season.