Lance Berkman not ready to return from calf injury

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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.