As presumed earlier on this blog, Lance Berkman is indeed headed to the 15-day disabled list with a sprained right ankle. The move is retroactive to Aug. 16, meaning Berkman will be eligible to return the final day of the month. He was hurt when he stepped on the foot of Royals first baseman Billy Butler trying to leg out a double play on Sunday.
Berkman said he could "run from a doberman" if need be, but the Yankees erred on the side of caution, especially because they could use more infield depth with Alex Rodriguez day-to-day with a calf injury. Providing that insurance will be 23-year old shortstop/second baseman Eduardo Nunez of the Dominican Republic, who was hitting .289 with four homers, 50 RBIs and 55 runs for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Berkman has played only 12 games since coming to New York in a trade for Mark Melancon and Jimmy Paredes. In those games he is 7-for-39 (.179) with no homers and four RBIs. It is believed A-Rod will be ready to play sooner than Berkman (plus he's more valuable to the lineup), hence the move to put Berkman on the DL instead of Rodriguez.
Said Berkman: "It's obviously not ideal. I didn't come here to sit on the bench and rot on the DL. But the better part of the season — the most exciting time — is September and October, so I gotta get ready for that."
Nunez said he hasn't been told how much playing time he'll receive, but added he can play every infield position except first.
"Obviously with Lance's ankle taking a little longer, combined with Alex's calf situation, there's only so long you feel comfortable going with no backup infield," said general manager Brian Cashman. "So we made a move, it's as simple as that.
"It's nothing serious on either one of them as much as how many days can you really go through this? We've got some every day guys that are gonna need a break."
Cashman added Rodriguez most likely will be a DH for a few days upon his return, but that he is "getting better every day."
*Aceves also back. Alfredo Aceves (back) was with the team Thursday after Tuesday's rehab appearance with Double-A Trenton in which he allowed one run in 2 1/3 innings. He's expected to make at least one or two more rehab appearances before returning to the big club, but Cashman has been pleased with his progress.
"He's a guy that you're just knocking out the rust," Cashman said of the 27-year old who hasn't pitched since May 8 in Boston. "He's done a great job and we're really excited about the prospect of getting him back. He's got a little bit more work to do."