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 promote Chris Young to pitching coach position

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Chris Young joined the Phillies as their assistant pitching coach last offseason. This offseason he’s getting a promotion: the Phillies just named as their main (um, top? lead? alpha?) pitching coach for the 2019 season. He replaces Rick Kranitz.

Ken Rosenthal, who reported the promotion, says that the Phillies didn’t necessarily want to shake up their pitching coach situation, but that since several clubs wanted to hire Young away, it was either promote him to the top job or lose him. That’s bad news for Kranitz, but he remains under contract for 2019 and will, in the meantime, be allowed to interview elsewhere.

The Phillies pitching staff ranked 11th in runs allowed in the National League in 2018. They were tenth the year before that, but some early season uncertainty and mismanagement by Gabe Kapler and a late season collapse served to hide what was, for most of the season, a bit of a better staff than the year before. The Phillies obviously credit Young for that and want to keep him in the fold.