Lance Berkman now aiming to return from knee surgery next week

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Lance Berkman said this afternoon that he’s hoping to return from knee surgery for the Astros’ six-game road trip that begins Monday. “I had it in my mind I would like to be back in that series, anyway,” Berkman told MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart. “I’m not guaranteeing it … but I’m starting to feel better and that is a possibility.”
Berkman underwent arthroscopic surgery on March 13, received a cortisone shot on Opening Day, and then had his knee drained Monday for the fifth time, saying: “For the first time I feel it is heading in the right direction.” However, some of his other quotes suggest it may take a while before he’s back at full strength:

Getting out of bed is a lot easier, and that helps and makes you feel better. I don’t have to consciously pick my knee up with my hands and stick it in the bed. I can get in now without any assistance. As far as baseball stuff, it feels a lot better than it has, and it’s not as swollen. I can bend it a lot easier.

Houston’s lineup will be bad even with a healthy Berkman, but they’ll be downright terrible offensively if he struggles to get back on track or needs another stint on the disabled list. After all, Geoff Blum and Pedro Feliz have batted fifth in the lineup while replacing him at first base through three games, which is all kinds of silly.
They scored two runs against Tim Lincecum on Opening Day, were shut out yesterday against Barry Zito, and currently have one run through six innings against Matt Cain this afternoon. Obviously the pitching matchups will get easier, but Houston ranked 14th among NL teams in scoring last year and things don’t figure to be much different this time around. They may need a healthy Berkman just to avoid finishing with fewer than 75 wins for the third time in four years.

Marlins sign Cameron Maybin

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Tim Healey of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports that the Marlins have signed free agent outfielder Cameron Maybin.

Maybin spent the 2017 season with the Angels and Astros, putting up a line of .228/.318/.365 in 450 plate appearances and appearing at least briefly in the World Series for Houston. That’s not the greatest batting line in the world, but he stole 33 bases in 114 games, so he has his value. Maybe more to fantasy players than a real baseball team, but the fact remains that if you don’t have three guys in the outfield, you’re gonna give up a lot of triples. Maybin will definitely be one of the guys in the outfield, at least part of the time.

This will be Maybin’s second tour of duty with the Marlins, having first come to them in 2007 in the famous — infamous, if you’re a Marlins fan — Miguel Cabrera trade. Maybin spent three seasons with the Marlins in that go-around.