Berkman not optimistic about Friday return

Berkman not optimistic about Friday return

ST. LOUIS -- Though Lance Berkman said it remains a possibility that he'll be ready to return from the disabled list on Friday, he did not sound overly optimistic about such a timetable.

Friday is the first day that the veteran first baseman, who is recovering from a strained left calf, would be eligible to come off the DL. That day also coincides with the team's first trip to Houston, where Berkman spent the first 12 years of his Major League career.

"It's just one of those things, when you're dealing with a muscle injury -- it can make rapid improvement and then hit a plateau," Berkman said. "You don't know how long it's going to take to get it back to 100 percent. Right now I'd say it's probably 85 percent. But before I'm going to go back out there, I'm going to get it as close to 100 percent as possible, because what I don't want to have happen is go out there too soon and end up right back here again. The whole point of this DL stint is to get this totally behind us."

Berkman did resume running on Monday, though it was not a strenuous test of his leg, and he continues to hit in the batting cages. It is unknown whether Berkman would need to go on a Minor League rehab assignment before being placed back on the 25-man roster.

"We'll see how the next few days play out," he said. "I've got to run. I've got to really push it. I've got to go full speed and have it not feel bad the next day. That's what the next step is."