ST. LOUIS -- Lance Berkman was still walking gingerly nearly three hours after being struck in the right knee by a pitch on Tuesday. However, he does not believe that his surgically repaired knee sustained any substantial damage beyond a painful bone bruise.
While Berkman may have to sit on Wednesday to allow the swelling to dissipate, the first baseman appears to have avoided anything serious enough to land him back on the disabled list. Berkman has already had two stints on the DL this season.
"It hurts," said Berkman, who immediately went to the ground after Clayton Kershaw's 84 mph slider struck him on the kneecap in his third-inning plate appearance.
"It's a bad bruise in a bad spot, unfortunately. I've already had a lot of trauma to that joint and didn't really need any more. But unfortunately I got some."
Berkman took the pitch off the same spot that was cut open two months ago to repair a torn mensicus. Ironic, too, is the fact that both of his knee injuries this season have come in games against the Dodgers.
It was in Los Angeles -- in a game also started by Kershaw -- that Berkman had to be helped off the field after injuring his knee while making a catch at first base on May 19. Surgery followed a few days later.
Berkman didn't come out of Tuesday's game immediately, though his stay on the field didn't last long. After dropping to the ground after the initial impact, Berkman stood up and slowly walked down the first-base line.
He conferred with manager Mike Matheny and assistant athletic trainer Chris Conroy, convincing them that he was OK to remain in the game.
"The only time I come out of a game is if I feel like I'm detrimental to the team by being out there," Berkman said. "I felt like whenever you get hit by a pitch it will calm down and you'll be able to play through it."
But Berkman was clearly hurting when he had to advance to second on a single to center. And with the National League's reigning Cy Young Award winner on the mound, Berkman and Matheny thought better of letting the first baseman stay on base. Matheny had Matt Carpenter replace Berkman, thereby not compromising the Cardinals' ability to score as the inning progressed.
"I was hesitant to leave him in, but then watching him really struggle to get there, I knew he was just setting himself up to get hurt further," Matheny said.
Tuesday marked just the sixth start Berkman had made since finishing his recovery. He entered the game hitting .281 in 21 games this season. His status is considered day by day.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.