Berkman diagnosed with left knee bruise
First baseman to miss Grapefruit opener, listed as day-to-day
KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Astros general manager Ed Wade said Tuesday night slugger Lance Berkman has been diagnosed with a left knee contusion (bruise), an injury that will likely keep him out of Thursday's Grapefruit League opener against the Washington Nationals.
Berkman, who is listed as day-to-day, injured the knee while running the bases during Sunday's workouts and was taken for an MRI on Monday after experiencing discomfort and swelling. Houston team medical director Dr. David Lintner reviewed the MRI results on Tuesday and confirmed the original diagnosis of Dr. David Crumbie.
"Dr. Lintner had a chance to see the MRI studies on the Internet late this afternoon or early this evening and confirmed Dr. Crumbie's diagnosis of a contusion from normal and wear and tear," Wade said. "[Athletic trainers] Nate [Lucero] and Rex [Jones] will get together with [Berkman] and get him straightened out and get him back on the field at the appropriate moment."
Astros manager Brad Mills said earlier Tuesday that Berkman likely wouldn't play Thursday, and Wade said there's no reason to rush him.
"There's no magic to Thursday," Wade said. "There's magic to April 4 [Opening Day] and getting ready for that opportunity. If he needs more time, we'll certainly give it to him and try to have him move in a straight line when he does get out there."
During Sunday's drill, players sprinted around the bases several times, going from first to third and first to home. Berkman thinks he must have twisted the knee at some point running the bases.
"Obviously, it's concerning," Berkman said. "Heck, the first day we run the bases in spikes and your knee swells up, that's never a good thing to have happen to you, but the doctors are hopeful it's minor. Whatever it is, it's minor. Even the worst-case scenario is minor, so we'll see how it goes."
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Berkman had minor surgery on his left knee in 1999 and underwent surgery following the 2004 season on his right knee to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament. He said that the left knee gave him some discomfort at different points during the winter.
"Anybody that's ever played any length of time and gets over 30, you're going to have some aches and pains, and every once in a while, working out my knee doesn't feel great, but it never swelled," he said. "I'm sure everybody's going to be like, 'Why didn't you get it taken care of in the offseason?' But it was never a problem at all.
"It was never debilitating in any of the stuff I was doing this offseason. Yeah, I felt a twinge once in a while, but my joints hurt from time to time all over the place. It was nothing out of the ordinary, and it was never swollen. This was the first time it has swollen up like that, and that's an indication it's a little more than a standard ache or pain."
Berkman doesn't want to rush into action but is eager to hit the field.
"I want to get out there as quickly as I can," he said. "I want to do everything I can possibly do. Everybody will say it's a veteran move to miss a couple of days of Spring Training, but I don't feel like that at all. I want to be out there and get ready to go.
"We need to get off to a good start this year, and a big part of that is going to be me getting ready to go on Opening Day. I don't want to miss any time, and I'm going to do whatever I can to get back out there."
Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.