UPDATE: St. Louis placed Berkman on the disabled list with right knee inflammation.
Lance Berkman tweaked his surgically repaired right knee in his final at-bat last night and Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com reports that the 36-year-old first baseman “had the knee heavily wrapped with ice after the game” and will be examined by team doctors today.
Berkman had knee surgery two months ago and returned from the disabled list in mid-July, going 6-for-33 (.182) with one homer in 15 games since.
Berkman told Langosch that last night wasn’t the first time on the Cardinals’ road trip that his knee has been sore, saying: “It’s just not a perfect knee. I’ve been scanned, zapped more than most players, probably, in that particular part of the body. I’ll let the doctor look at it and see what he thinks.”
Even before last night Cardinals manager Mike Matheny was planning to limit Berkman’s playing time, in part to keep him healthy and in part to find regular playing time for, among others, Allen Craig.
Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports that the Giants are engaged in “serious discussions” with the Reds to acquire center fielder Billy Hamilton. Talks are apparently advanced enough that a deal could be completed before the end of the Winter Meetings on Thursday.
It’s no secret that the Giants would like to make an upgrade in the outfield this offseason, as the club has also been linked to Red Sox center fielder Jackie Bradley, Jr. Currently, the Giants’ outfield consists of Denard Span, Hunter Pence, and Jarrett Parker.
Hamilton, 27, owns a meager .248/.298/.334 batting line across parts of five seasons in the majors with the Reds. However, he has plenty of speed, having stolen at least 56 bases in each of the last four seasons. Hamilton is also well-regarded for his defense, which would be a boon at spacious AT&T Park.
Hamilton is in his second of three years of arbitration eligibility. He’s projected to earn $5 million for this coming season. Buchanan notes that the Rangers are also interested in potentially acquiring Hamilton.