Berkman aims for return to lineup on Friday

Berkman aims for return to lineup on Friday

Berkman aims for return to lineup on Friday
PHOENIX -- Cardinals first baseman Lance Berkman said his injured left calf feels so good, he hopes to come off the disabled list and return to action when the club opens a three-game series against the Braves on Friday night at Busch Stadium.

"We'll see how it goes, but that's what we're talking about," said a happy Berkman after the Cardinals vanquished the D-backs, 9-6, on Monday night at Chase Field.

Berkman was eligible to come off the disabled list this past Friday in Houston and was just as upbeat about his chances of being activated. That didn't happen after he felt some pain while jogging. His last two sessions on Sunday and Monday were much more positive. Berkman jogged Sunday, repeated that on Monday and also took some ground balls.

Still manager Mike Matheny would rather view the progress with caution.

"He's going to have to do some other things, like full-out running, moving from side to side," Matheny said. "Until he does that, it makes no sense to put any timeline on it."

Berkman has been dealing with a recurring calf injury since early in the season and felt a real twinge in the leg after he went back to catch a foul pop in a game against the Reds at St. Louis on April 18. He hasn't played since.

Berkman originally tore the calf muscle during at Cincinnati on April 10 and sat out a week before injuring it again. He was then placed on the 15-day disabled list. Berkman was hitting .348 with no homers and two RBIs when he went down.