Lance Berkman pinch-hits, non-committal on retirement talk

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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.