Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Berkman Is Back in the Lineup; Notebook; but He Won't Start Consecutive Games on Trip as Matheny Eases His Return; CARDINALS

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Berkman Is Back in the Lineup; Notebook; but He Won't Start Consecutive Games on Trip as Matheny Eases His Return; CARDINALS

Article excerpt

CINCINNATI - The Big Squeeze has arrived for the Cardinals.

First baseman Lance Berkman made his first start Sunday night since landing on the disabled list May 20 and requiring knee surgery. Berkman will not start consecutive games on this road trip, according to manager Mike Matheny. Sunday's return meant a down day for Allen Craig, who has cooled this month. Tonight may represent a rest day for right fielder Carlos Beltran. And second baseman Tyler Greene appears to have entered a Catch-22 regarding playing time.

"It's tough to find time for everybody right now. It's only going to get worse," Matheny noted before the Cardinals concluded their three-game series against the Cincinnati Reds.

Matheny laid out some parameters for the three-game series that begins tonight against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park.

Beltran, who is dealing with his most protracted power fade this season, probably won't start tonight's opener and could also receive a down day either before or after Thursday's scheduled day off.

Matheny met with Beltran on Sunday afternoon and voiced concern that Beltran may be fatigued following heavy playing time during the club's brutally hot 10-game home stand followed by three hectic days of travel and participation connected to last Tuesday's All-Star Game in Kansas City.

Matheny said he mulled sitting Beltran on Sunday but reconsidered as the Cardinals sought to avert a three-game sweep."

"Being an All-Star is a great honor and I'm really happy for them. But Carlos and Raffy (Furcal, the Cardinals' starting shortstop) have been so durable. It doesn't get noticed but I think they could have used the time away," noted Matheny, who thought Beltran looked different in the field during Saturday's 10-inning, 3- 2 loss.

"You could see he was just fighting it. ... You could tell he's tired. He should be. He's played hard," Matheny said.

Hitting .291 overall, Beltran entered Sunday's game in a one-for- 19 slide within a five-for-36 skid. He retained the National League RBI lead despite managing one home run since June 13. …

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