Cards encouraged but cautious with Berkman

Cards encouraged but cautious with Berkman

ST. LOUIS -- Lance Berkman remained out of the Cardinals' lineup for the second straight game despite lobbying manager Mike Matheny for his inclusion in Friday's home opener.

An MRI conducted on Thursday confirmed that Berkman suffered a minor tear in his left calf when he legged out a triple against the Reds on Tuesday. The Cardinals were encouraged by that diagnosis, as well as how much better Berkman said he was feeling Thursday and Friday.

But Matheny wasn't going to listen to any pleas Berkman made, particularly with Friday's messy weather conditions. Temperatures were in the low 50s midday, and the field was slick after hours of rain.

"Today was the day that just didn't seem to make sense to push him," Matheny said. "It just doesn't make sense."

Matheny wouldn't rule out using Berkman as a pinch-hitter in the series opener against the Cubs, though the pause in Matheny's answer suggested he'd prefer to stay away from using Berkman at all, for precautionary reasons.

Taking Berkman's place at first base was Matt Carpenter, who also started there on Wednesday. After batting cleanup in that game, Carpenter was slotted into the seventh spot in the order on Friday. He finished the road trip 2-for-10 with three RBIs.