Lance Berkman has had a pretty miserable season in all facets of the game, largely due to circumstances outside of his control. The Cards slugging first baseman/outfielder was a surprise all-star selection just a year ago and a feel good story around the major leagues. In 2012, very little has felt good for Berkman. He has battled two bum knees for much of the year, alternating stints on the disabled list with sluggish performances in limited playing time. When he has been healthy enough to hit he has struggled, batting only .263 with 2 HR and 7RBI in just 31 games for the Redbirds.

As the Cards come barreling down the home stretch neck and neck with the Dodgers for the final playoff spot in the NL, Berkman is slowly fading further into oblivion. He watched Sunday’s game from the bench, unable to contribute once again, and did not even accompany the team to San Diego late Sunday night. As the Cards prepare to take on the Padres, Berkman flew to Houston to get his balky right knee checked out. Since returning from the DL, Berkman has physically been able to contribute just a few plate appearances, and playing in the field has been out of the question. His trip to Houston, where Berkman spent most of his prime with the Astros, is to visit the same Houston-area doctor that operated on his right knee back in May. John Mozeliak called the move something the Cardinal’s brass thought “would make sense” before making any definite decision on the remainder of Berkman’s season.

A season that began with surgery for the Cardinal’s slugger has painfully made no progress. It appears as if Berkman will not play any significant role for the Cards in September as the lights shine brighter and the playoffs begin to come into focus for the Cardinals.