Around NL Central Spring Training, 3/12: Lance Berkman's 'Puffy" Knee

Astros: Lance Berkman’s bruised left knee is "puffy," according to GM Ed Wade, and he’s scheduled to get it examined by team doctors Friday. Berkman doesn’t believe the injury is serious and has played in five games since missing the Grapefruit League opener, but he’s had to have fluid drained out of it twice this week and continues to deal with swelling.

Brewers: Ryan Braun was scratched from the travel roster for the team’s split-squad game against the Reds Thursday, but stayed home and hit a home run while playing in the home game against the A’s. Manager Ken Macha said he kept Braun home so he’d have more immediate access to treatment after the game.

Cardinals: Matt Holliday and Albert Pujols continue to be held out of spring training action, and manager Tony La Russa doesn’t have a lot to say about it. Pujols has been held out of several games with weakness in his lower back, while Holliday missed Wednesday’s game with soreness in his right ribcage. Friday’s game against the Red Sox is a likely washout after three inches of rain fell overnight, so both players will likely get another day of rest.

Cubs: Team President Crane Kenney met with members of the media yesterday to discuss the state of the franchise, including plans for a new spring training facility in Mesa. Kenney told Carrie Muskat that he’s hoping the Cubs will identify a location for the planned facility in the next two weeks, and the venture could be paid for without the highly controversial Cactus League ticket surcharge.

Earlier this week, Kenney and Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts answered questions for Al Yellon of Bleed Cubbie Blue – you can read that interview here.

Pirates: Reliever Joel Hanrahan continues to rehab a flexor-pronator strain in his pitching elbow, but has yet to throw off a mound and general manager Neil Huntington now says it’s unlikely he’ll be ready in time for Opening Day. Hanrahan may be able to pitch in a few Grapefruit League games before the Pirates break camp, but will remain in extended spring training until he’s ready to rejoin the team sometime in April.

Reds: The team announced Thursday that all-time great Barry Larkin will return to the team as a spring training instructor for ten days in camp this spring, joining Ellis Burks and Tony Phillips. This is the first time Larkin has been a part of Reds training camp since retiring following the 2004 season.

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