SURPRISE, Ariz. —
The 37-year-old Berkman played only 32 games for St. Louis last season because of two operations on his right knee and a left calf strain.
A week into camp after an offseason of rehabilitation, the switch-hitting Berkman started feeling something in his right calf. He said it’s no big deal.
Berkman will be primarily the designated hitter and likely fill the No. 3 spot in the batting order that used to be occupied by five-time All-Star slugger Josh Hamilton. Berkman feel like he needs to get in a full spring, but isn’t worried about missing early games.
“I think I probably need that after having not played really at all last year,” Berkman said. “I don’t look at what’s happened so far as lost time but if and that was one reason to be cautious about it. Because I don’t want it to creep into the zone that I consider it lost time. ... Until we get like into the first week or two of March, I wouldn’t consider it lost time.”
There have been no such issues for Berkman as last spring when he said his knee “was just clicking and popping.”
Nathan had 37 saves and a 2.80 ERA in 66 appearances last year, his first full season since missing all of 2010 after ligament replacement surgery in his right elbow. He missed a month in 2011 with Minnesota because a flexor muscle strain in the same elbow.
Before throwing BP on Friday, Nathan was doing all other drills with his teammates.
“If you look around, I think we’ve been through enough spring trainings that we know at least a timeframe to get ourselves ready,” Nathan said of the veteran trio. “I think we’re going to know our bodies. ... We’ve got the time. We’re going to use it while we can now because we know once this thing gets rolling, it’s probably not going to stop until hopefully the beginning of November, end of October.”