Berkman not optimistic about chances to return

Berkman not optimistic about chances to return

ST. LOUIS -- Cardinals outfielder Lance Berkman says his chances of returning this season are diminishing every day.

Berkman, out since Sept. 11 when he underwent his second knee surgery of the season, is hitting in the batting cage every other day, but he has yet to test the knee by running at full speed.

"It's probably a long shot that I will be playing in the playoffs," he said. "When I physically feel that I can get out there, I'll try to get out there."

Berkman has appeared in 31 games this season with two homers and seven RBIs.

"The reality is I've basically missed the entire season," he said. "Even if I were to get back out there physically, you still have the issue of not being game-ready. I don't think it would be fair to the team to be added to the playoff roster and take somebody's spot that could actually help us win."

Berkman has 360 homers and 1,200 RBIs in his 14-year career. At age 36, his status for next season is up in the air. Retirement is a distinct possibility.

For now, Berkman is enjoying the Cardinals' National League Wild Card run, with the team up three games on the Dodgers for the second spot entering Saturday's game with the Nationals. But he wishes he could be contributing on a regular basis.

"I'm just around here for the ambiance," he joked.