After a dismal series battling the Philadelphia Phillies the only good news for the St. Louis Cardinals seems to be coming from the DL. There is promising news from many of the Cardinals that are currently in various states of recovery. This is something that the organization and fans can celebrate to help buoy their spirits through the Cards recent slide, especially against the NL East.
Lance Berkman presented Manager Mike Matheny with possibly the best news of the whole bunch. Puma’s successful surgery this past week confirmed that there was not any ACL damage. The surgeon was ale to repair the meniscus. Berkman reportedly called Matheny and let him know that he would be back. This was fantastic news following the recent talk that this could be the end of Berkman’s illustrious career. Would he be able or have the desire to rehab the knee and return to the club for a playoff run or next season. All indications are that Berkman could conservatively make it back in 8-10 weeks. This should get him back in time for a playoff run.
The good news continued with staff ace Chris Carpenter and his continued improvement. Carpenter will begin to pick up his rehab of his neck and shoulder this week. He will begin to increase his throwing program this week. The Cardinals and Carp are going to continue to take a conservative approach to the recovery process. He will throw what feels comfortable. The organization does not want him to push it. If things continue to progress as expected we could see Carp on the mound by the end of July. If he can return to form he will be a welcome sight on the mound for the playoff push.
Both Allen Craig and John Jay are scheduled to leave the DL this week. Craig appears to be ahead of schedule. His hamstring injury appears to be healing as he took batting practice and some fielding work at second base before games this past week. I would expect Craig to see significant time at first base until Berkman returns or Matt Carpenter (oblique) reasserts himself after a stay on the DL. There has not been much information on Jay’s injury. The club has not stated whether or not one or both may require a rehab stint in the minors.
While the struggles are not over for the Cards there may be good news on the horizon. If things continue to progress for the walking wounded there just may be a light at the end of the tunnel. For once this season Matheny would like for that not to be the headlight of an oncoming train. The organization seems to be cautiously optimistic about the players on the DL and their estimated return times.
Even more frustrating than the injuries that are piling up is the implosion of Fernando Salas. Salas was optioned to Memphis yesterday morning. This is the culmination of a horrendous slide as of late. Salas has struggled for control and was owned by left-handed batters. This is not extremely uncommon for a right-handed pitcher, but Salas dominated lefties last year. I think this is the right move. The Cardinals need for Salas to get right. He can be a solid contributor if he can regain his command. This will be easier to accomplish outside of the pressure cooker of late innings with the big club. Cardinal Nation will be following the recovery of Salas and awaiting his return.
I wanted to take a minute to honor those who have selflessly served our country. Memorial Day is a time that we as a nation pause and take the time to recognize those who have made countless sacrifices to secure our freedom. I have had the opportunity over the years to work with many former and current military service men and women in addition to those I am related to. It never ceases to amaze me how they serve their country and the sacrifices they make. While we typically honor those who have lost their lives on Memorial Day I choose to also honor those who continue to serve and especially those who provide the support network at home. Whether it is the wife, husband, or children of a service member, their sacrifice is unyielding and complete. They give more than anyone should. It is something they take pride in and should be honored by all. Thank you to all of those who have served. Happy Memorial Day to each and every one of you. I hope you enjoy your time with friends and family. Just take a moment to honor those who have given their all to ensure that you have the ability to do that.