Berkman has surgery, expected back this year
No season-ending ACL tear in Cards first baseman's right knee
ST. LOUIS -- Cardinals manager Mike Matheny wasn't sure what he was going to hear when he received a phone call from Lance Berkman on Friday.
Berkman underwent successful surgery on his injured right knee on Friday morning. His medial meniscus, which had a partial tear, was removed. A small femoral condylar cartilage tear was debrided.
The 36-year-old first baseman was concerned going into surgery that he might have an issue with his anterior cruciate ligament, which could have possibly been a season-ending or career-ending injury. But no such problem was found.
"Great news, as good of news as we could get from this," Matheny said. "We're excited. I got a call from him earlier and we talked it out. You just never know how somebody's mind works when they get to that position. He's had a long career and a very successful career. You get to that point where you're just tired of fighting through this, and that wasn't it. The conversation was, 'Yeah, I'm going to be back.'"
Matheny said Berkman seemed surprised at the outcome of the procedure.
"I think he was," Matheny said. "Only because that meniscus flap got into a spot that it hadn't felt like before, so he thought it was probably worse. But the doctors were extremely optimistic with what they saw."
Matheny and the rest of the Cardinals now have reason to be optimistic about Berkman's return.
"It was great to hear his voice and hear that excitement," Matheny said. "Once again, you can turn that page, just kind of putting different scenarios in your mind of what might happen, and it's hard to turn it back. That was one of the best things. I could already see that he never really let his mind go there. All he's thinking about now is enjoying a little time with his family to heal and he's thinking about counting down the days until he is back."
General manager John Mozeliak called the update on Berkman "favorable news" for the Cardinals.
"I think, in fairness to everything, we should just be patient and see how things unfold over the next couple weeks, but we are optimistic that he will play for us again this season, and we're hopeful it will be sooner rather than later," he said. "As far as a timetable goes, I think it's realistic to be in that eight-to-10-week period."
Nate Latsch is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.