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Berkman expects to be back soon after break

Associated Press Modified: July 2, 2012 at 6:31 pm •  Published: July 2, 2012

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Lance Berkman expects to be back in the St. Louis Cardinals' lineup soon after the All-Star break. Maybe even the first day back.

"Yeah, it's possible," Berkman said Monday after joining the team to continue rehab from a right knee injury. "It wouldn't shock me. I'm not banking on it, but at the same time I'm not ruling it out."

The first baseman has been sidelined since undergoing surgery in late May that turned out to be relatively minor. Berkman said that swelling was minimal after the procedure and he began running a week ago, and that his rehab was right on schedule.

"I haven't run into any trouble yet and don't anticipate that I will," Berkman said. "So far, it's worked exactly like we anticipated."

The switch-hitting Berkman took 25 swings of soft toss from each side several hours before the Cardinals played the Colorado Rockies. He'll have to get into baseball shape before taking a rehab assignment and manager Mike Matheny said Berkman hasn't done much side to side movement yet, and Berkman said he wanted to be able to tolerate 100 swings from each side.

Matheny said the timetable was "pretty vague" for the 36-year-old Berkman, the comeback player of the year last season after batting .301 with 31 homers and 94 RBIs. "He looks like he's fit and ready to go, it's just going to be how he responds to every test that we give him."

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