Lance Berkman aggravates knee injury, goes back on DL

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UPDATE: St. Louis placed Berkman on the disabled list with right knee inflammation.

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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.

Phillies owner John Middleton is in Las Vegas with Bryce Harper

Bryce Harper
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Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports that Phillies owner John Middleton flew to Las Vegas for a meeting with Bryce Harper on Friday. Per ESPN’s Jeff Passan, it’s “more of a meet-and-greet than a sign-a-deal” affair, but as the club is still at the forefront of trade rumors involving the All-Star slugger, there remains a possibility (however slight) that something could be completed in the days to come.

Even now, the Phillies aren’t alone in the race to sign Harper, but recent rumors have helped whittle down the competition from five or more teams (Phillies, Nationals, White Sox, Giants, and Padres) to three strong contenders. The Giants are said to be interested in a lucrative short-term deal with the outfielder, while the Padres remain in the conversation despite inking Manny Machado to a mammoth 10-year, $300 million contract this week. It’s not yet clear just how far either team would go to outbid Philadelphia as talks with Harper intensify.

As for the Nationals and White Sox, the former officially bowed out earlier today, and MLB Network’s Jon Heyman adds that the latter won’t make a strong play for Harper as they feel the asking price and competing offers are “getting too high” for the 26-year-old’s services. If a mystery team is still in the mix, there’s been no word on their standing with Harper in the last month or so.