Berkman leaves game as a precaution
First baseman feels leg tighten on double in eighth inning
KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Lance Berkman had quite a showing at the plate Monday, but his day ended with a precautionary limp off the diamond after he felt tightness in his left leg.
Berkman capped a 3-for-4 day with a double in the eighth but soon was walking off the field, somewhat to the surprise of his manager.
"I pretty much took myself out of the game," Berkman said. "I was like, 'That's it.'"
Manager Cecil Cooper did not appear to immediately notice that Berkman had started walking to the dugout, but once he realized his star slugger was coming off the field, he met Berkman near third base.
"I just told him, 'I can stay in if you want me to,'" Berkman said. "'I just want you to know that if you see me just jogging to third on a base hit, you'll know why.' He said, 'No, come on out.'"
Berkman had an active day on the basepaths, which probably led to the tightening of his quad muscle. He legged out a triple in the third and sprinted home on a shallow fly ball hit by Carlos Lee. Because he struck out in the fifth, Berkman had a longer layoff until his at-bat in the eighth. That likely contributed to his discomfort.
"I had to tag and score on a short fly ball," Berkman said. "After that, I felt it a little bit and struck out in my next at-bat. So, I hadn't done anything for an hour and a half. I hit that double and I was thinking about if I should go for third on that one. When I got up to speed, I definitely felt it. It's Spring Training. During the season, I wouldn't have come out of the game."
Cooper was more than happy to take the safe route on this one.
"He said he'll be fine," Cooper said. "We just took the [precaution] and got him out of there. He's fine."
Berkman will be able to rest Tuesday while the team plays in Sarasota. He is slated to play Wednesday against the Tigers in Lakeland.
Alyson Footer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.