Thought to be done for the year, Lance Berkman made an appearance as a pinch-hitter in Wednesday’s Cardinals finale and grounded out to end the seventh inning.
Berkman got a big ovation from the St. Louis crowd prior to the at-bat, which was his first since Sept. 7. He won’t be included on the Cardinals’ postseason roster because of his knee problems.
Interviewed after the game, Berkman wouldn’t say which way he was leaning as far as coming back for another year. The free-agent-to-be said early last month that he was considering retiring and going back to Rice University to finish his degree.
Berkman, one of the NL’s best hitters last year, appeared in just 31 games this season because of his bad knee. If tonight’s at-bat was his last, he’ll finish his career with a .296/.409/.544 line, 360 homers and 1,200 RBI.
Pitcher David Phelps has a torn UCL and will undergo Tommy John surgery, ending his 2018 season, the Mariners announced on Wednesday. Phelps was making brief one-inning stints in the Cactus League as he worked his way back from a procedure to remove a bone spur from his elbow last September. He said he felt the ligament tear on his final pitch against the Angels in his March 17 appearance.
Phelps, 31, was expected to set up for closer Edwin Diaz. The right-hander, between the Marlins and Mariners last season, posted a 3.40 ERA with a 62/26 K/BB ratio in 55 2/3 innings. He and the Mariners avoided arbitration in January, agreeing on a $5.55 million salary for the 2018 campaign. Phelps will become eligible to become a free agent at the end of the season.
As the Mariners noted in their statement, the expected recovery period for Tommy John surgery is 12-15 months, so this very likely cuts into Phelps’ 2019 season as well.