Lance Berkman tested his strained left calf yesterday, but Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post Dispatch reports that “he felt some residual tightness and the plan now is for him not to try to run again until Monday.”
Hummel notes that Berkman missed 21 days with a similar injury in 2009, so a similar timetable now would have him returning late next week. Even that seems pretty optimistic at this point, as Berkman admitted that yesterday’s running test “didn’t go as well as I wanted it to” and “it’s not there yet.”
Matt Carpenter has played well filling in for Berkman at first base and Allen Craig’s return from offseason knee surgery gives manager Mike Matheny another option for a big bat, but there’s no way for the Cardinals to truly replace the production a healthy Berkman has provided since last season. In 152 total games for St. Louis he’s hit .303 with 31 homers, nearly as many walks (98) as strikeouts (99), and a .963 OPS.
The Reds picked up outfielders Mason Williams and Rosell Herrera on minor league deals, MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon reports. Both Williams and Herrera will receive invites to spring training and could compete for backup outfield roles behind Adam Duvall, Billy Hamilton and Scott Schebler.
Williams, 26, completed a three-year track with the Yankees in 2017. He has yet to see a full season of playing time, however, and went 4-for-17 with two stolen bases during a five-game span with the club in 2017. While not a power hitter, his speed and steady contact rate produced a .263/.309/.318 batting line over 437 plate appearances in Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, including two home runs, three triples and 19 stolen bases.
Herrera, 25, has yet to make his big league debut. After seven years in the Rockies’ system, he finally reached Triple-A Albuquerque in 2017 and slashed .278/.351/.394 with three home runs and 20 stolen bases in 363 PA. He looks most comfortable in the left field corner, but has some experience at shortstop and third base and should give the Reds a nice utility option come spring.