Berkman targeting April 20 return

Berkman targeting April 20 return

HOUSTON -- Astros first baseman Lance Berkman admitted Sunday he's surprised by how long his recovery from knee surgery has taken, and he's hopeful he can return to action when the Astros return home April 20. Berkman will stay in Houston for his rehab while the team travels to St. Louis and Chicago this week.

"The workout facilities, particularly in Chicago, are atrocious, so you can't get much done there in terms of rehab or strengthening or anything like that, so I think that played as big a factor as anything," Berkman said.

Berkman, on the disabled list after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery on March 13, will continue treatment with physical therapist Matt Holland at The Methodist Hospital. He will also work on baseball skills to increase tolerance. Berkman has had the knee drained repeatedly to alleviate swelling.

"Same stuff I've been doing," Berkman said. "Again, it's pretty boring. I know everybody wants to know and you guys [the media] ask me about it all the time, and that's your job. I wish I had something to tell you, but I don't."

Berkman hit .274 with 25 homers and 80 RBIs last year, a season in which he missed 18 games while on the disabled list with a strained calf. The Astros open a three-game series in St. Louis on Monday and will play three at Chicago's Wrigley Field beginning Friday.

"It's not going to be any more frustrating than it is sitting here watching them play at home from the bench," Berkman said. "I just need to concentrate on trying to get better as quickly as I can. Time is a great healer. I can't do anything about it unless I'm healthy."