The total extent of Lance Berkman’s knee injury was unclear until he underwent surgery this morning and now the verdict is in, as the Cardinals announced that he’ll miss “approximately 8-10 weeks.”
According to the team the surgery repaired Berkman’s torn meniscus, but there was no mention of his ACL after the veteran switch-hitter and the Cardinals disagreed about whether or not it was torn as well.
All in all the result qualifies as positive news because 8-10 weeks on the sidelines means Berkman could potentially be back in the lineup around mid-August. That’s a best-case scenario, of course, and at age 36 it certainly wouldn’t be surprising if any setbacks put his status for the entire season in question. A torn ACL, however, would have ended his season and possibly his career.
Matt Adams will get an extended opportunity at first base in Berkman’s absence and the 23-year-old prospect has the potential to make an impact after consistently hitting for big-time power in the minors. Prior to being called up last week Adams played a total of 152 games between Double-A and Triple-A since the beginning of last season, hitting .310 with 41 homers and 33 doubles. He doesn’t walk much, but the guy can mash.
Nationals GM Mike Rizzo said on Tuesday that starter Stephen Strasburg is unlikely to pitch in the NLDS against the Dodgers, Chase Hughes of CSN Mid-Atlantic reports. Strasburg hasn’t pitched since September 7 due to a strained flexor mass.
Strasburg was pitching well before a few poor starts prior to being shut down in August. He currently holds a 3.60 ERA with a 183/44 K/BB ratio in 147 2/3 innings.
The Nationals signed Strasburg to a seven-year, $175 million contract extension in May. This was obviously not how they invisioned his 2016 campaign going.
Nationals starter A.J. Cole has been fined an undisclosed amount and suspended five games by Major League Baseball for intentionally throwing at Pirates third baseman Jung Ho Kang on Sunday, Chelsea Janes of The Washington Post reports. Cole is appealing his suspension.
Kang faked a tag on Bryce Harper, who was coming into third base on a triple. The fake-out caused Harper to slide awkwardly, injuring his left thumb. The Nationals took exception to this and Cole threw a fastball that ended sailing behind Kang’s back during his next at-bat. Cole was ejected and both benches emptied. There was some yelling and some light pushing and shoving, but nothing beyond that.
Cole will remain active until his appeal is heard, which may allow him to make one more start before the end of the regular season. He’s carrying a 5.09 ERA with a 37/14 K/BB ratio in 35 1/3 innings over seven starts this season.