Lance Berkman suffers setback from knee surgery

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Lance Berkman headshot.jpgLance Berkman, who underwent arthroscopic surgery to clean out loose cartilage in his left knee on
March 13, was already iffy for the start of the season. Now he’s almost surely headed for the disabled list.

According to Brian McTaggart of MLB.com, Berkman’s knee “swelled up a good bit” after he took some ground balls and tried to run on Tuesday.

“I was hopeful that by increasing activities that it wouldn’t irritate
it, and apparently it’s going to,” he said. “I need to drop down to
where I just swing a little bit. Today I took ground balls and moved
around a good bit, and it didn’t respond like I wanted it to.”

The Astros can backdate Berkman, so if he is forced to begin the season on the DL, he would have to miss at
least the first four games of the season before being eligible
to return to the Astros’ lineup. If Tuesday’s setback was any indication, even that timeline might be a tad optimistic.

Blue Jays clinch playoff berth with Orioles’ loss to Red Sox

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TORONTO — The Blue Jays clinched a postseason berth Thursday without taking the field.

Toronto was assured of an AL wild card berth when the Boston Red Sox beat the Baltimore Orioles 5-3.

If Toronto holds its current position as the first of the AL’s three wild cards, the Blue Jays would open a best-of-three wild-card series at Rogers Centre next week.

“These guys are excited to be in this position,” Blue Jays manager John Schneider said after Wednesday’s 8-3 loss to the New York Yankees. “You’ve got three really good pitchers lined up against a good Boston team, playing at home. So I think it’s more excitement more than it’s nerves or anything. I think the guys are going to come out and be ready to roll on Friday night.”

Toronto became the fourth AL team to clinch a playoff berth, joining division champions Houston, the Yankees and Cleveland. The Astros and Yankees have first-round byes.

The Blue Jays last went to the playoffs in 2020, when they were knocked out with two straight losses to Tampa Bay.

Eight of the 12 berths in the expanded postseason have been clinched: The Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis earned division titles, and Atlanta and the New York Mets are assured no worse the wild cards while still competing to win the NL East. The Dodgers have a first-round bye.