Berkman's brief visit pays dividends

Berkman's brief visit pays dividends

ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals are not only missing Lance Berkman's bat in their lineup these days, but his presence in the clubhouse, as well.

"It's a different atmosphere only by volume alone," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny joked on Thursday.

Matheny said the team is hoping to get Berkman back in the clubhouse soon, and is entertaining the idea of getting Berkman back for the start of the next homestand beginning on June 29.

Berkman had surgery on May 25 in Houston to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee, and has remained there while recovering. The Cardinals hope he will be available to play again by late July.

Berkman was able to join the team during its three-game series in Houston from June 5-7. Matheny said Berkman's presence was felt immediately during that brief period with the club.

"You can see when we got to Houston, he's just chirping and barking and yelling at people the whole time. That's just who he is," Matheny said. "That's just part of the magic he brings to a team. We miss that, and you can't fabricate that either. It's either who you are or not."