Berkman reacts to his return
Lance Berkman returned to Minute Maid Park on Tuesday wearing the uniform of the rival Cardinals. Berkman even returned to first base, where he got the start with Albert Pujols nursing an injury.
Berkman arrived at the ballpark early zipped past the Astros clubhouse on a golf cart on his way to the visiting clubhouse on the other side of the ballpark.
“It’s hard to verbalize the wide range of emotions you feel when you come back to a place you were for a long time,” said Berkman, who still lives in Houston with his family. “I’ve had a lot of good memories here and there were a lot of good people I interacted with over the years, so it’s certainly different seeing it from this side.”
Berkman was asked about the comments that Astros Hall of Fame announcer Milo Hamilton made on a Houston radio station Monday morning when he questioned Berkman’s workout routine during his final two years with the Astros.
Hamilton, during his weekly appearance on KBME (790 AM) in Houston, expressed regret Berkman wasn’t able finish his career with the Astros and said if he had the same workout commitment during his final two years in Houston, he’d still be here. Berkman battled knee problems last year after undergoing surgery in March and was having his worst offensive season when he waived his no-trade clause and approved a deal to the Yankees last July.
Berkman signed with the Cardinals in the winter and entered Monday hitting a sizzling .377 with six homers and 15 RBIs. Berkman said he had no hard feelings for Hamilton, but he took exception to the comments.
“I want to be careful with my words, but first of all there were some things that were said simply not true,” Berkman said. “I think the comment was made that I didn’t rehab my knee. That’s a blatant falsehood. You can go confirm with the training staff. I came every day and did exactly what I was supposed to do. I do take exception to the questioning of the effort.
“I feel like I’ve done the best that I can and did the best I could over the time I had here in Houston to represent the organization well on and off the field, and that includes effort level and playing hurt and maybe playing some games when I shouldn’t have been out there. In trying to do the best I could do and maintain the feel that both Craig [Biggio] and Jeff [Bagwell] were able to create, and I felt a responsibility in that regard to pass that along.
“One thing that can’t be denied – and that responsibility is on me – that if I had played better, we wouldn’t be having this press conference.”
Check out more that Berkman had to say later tonight at http://www.astros.com