Lance Berkman had his right knee drained for a fifth time and received a cortisone shot on Monday, according to Brian McTaggart of MLB.com. The 34-year-old first baseman underwent arthroscopic surgery last month, and after a series of recent setbacks, he doesn’t sound any closer to returning from the disabled list.
“My wife asked me that today and I think she’s tired of me moping around
the house,” Berkman said. “I have no idea [when I’ll return]. I really
wish I could tell you an accurate prediction of when I thought I would
be ready to go. It isn’t right this second, but I’m hopeful it will be
The Astros, who were dominated by Tim Lincecum on Monday and have been held to just four hits on Tuesday thus far, will sorely miss his presence in the middle of the lineup. They’ve already went to the lengths of moving Pedro Feliz over to first base just to roll the dice with rookie Chris Johnson at third.
Free agent right-hander Henderson Alvarez signed a deal with the Tigres de Quintana Roo of the Mexican Baseball League earlier this week, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Friday. The righty wasn’t necessarily too fringey a player to hack it in the big leagues, but there were no MLB takers in attendance during his showcase in Venezuela last month and he clearly felt it best to try his luck elsewhere.
The 27-year-old’s last major league gig came with the Phillies, for whom he delivered a 4.30 ERA, 6.8 BB/9 and 3.7 SO/9 over 14 2/3 innings in 2017. While he’s not too far removed from his first and only All-Star bid in 2014, he was besieged by shoulder issues in 2015 and 2016 and underwent season-ending surgeries as a result.
That added injury risk, coupled with the fact that he hasn’t pitched more than 22 innings in a single season since 2014, may have been too much for major league teams to take on this spring. Assuming he steers clear of further injuries, however, a return to the majors may not be entirely out of the question in years to come.