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07/30/11 8:27 PM ET

Berkman sits again, hopes to play Sunday

ST. LOUIS -- Lance Berkman was held out of the starting lineup for the fourth straight game on Saturday as he continues to recover from discomfort in the area of his right shoulder.

Manager Tony La Russa said the plan is to not rush Berkman back to action, but the slugger was available to pinch-hit against the Cubs on Saturday.

"We don't want to get him back and have him aggravate it," La Russa said. "We want him to [come back and] stay."

La Russa said he was leaning toward playing Berkman on Sunday in the series-finale against the Cubs but would hold off if the slugger needed more treatment.

Berkman, though, was confident he would be back on the field on Sunday.

"It feels good, a lot better today," Berkman said on Saturday. "I feel like I will be able to play [on Sunday], no problem."

Berkman received a cortisone shot in his shoulder on Wednesday and has not played since Tuesday, when he was lifted from the game after two at-bats with discomfort in his shoulder.

The six-time All-Star first felt something amiss during his final swing of Sunday's loss to Pittsburgh, and the problem resurfaced at the plate on Tuesday against Houston.

He took batting practice on Saturday and reported no major issues with the shoulder.

"I don't think you can expect to feel completely normal, or pain free," Berkman said. "But compared to where it was, it's a lot better."

Skip Schumaker started in right field on Saturday in Berkman's stead.

Berkman leads the National League with 27 home runs and is hitting .286 with a team-high 69 RBIs in 92 games this season.

Theriot shines in first Cardinals start at second

ST. LOUIS -- Ryan Theriot played second base on Friday night for the first time this season, and then arrived at Busch Stadium on Saturday morning to find out he would make his first start at the position since joining the Cardinals.

Theriot responded exceptionally well to his new role and went 4-for-5 with a pair of doubles, three RBIs and a run scored in the Cardinals' 13-5 win over the Cubs. He's excelled against his former team so far in this series, going 6-for-7 with six RBIs in two games.

"This is more like him, he's spraying the ball all over [the field]," said Cardinals manager Tony La Russa.

Theriot also played three innings at second base during Friday's 9-2 win against the Cubs.

"It was kind of fun, actually," Theriot said. "It's something new. What we do is such a repetitive thing. You eat the same stuff, you come to the yard the same time, you take the same amount of swings in the cage, you play the same position. So when you can do something a little different like that, [it's] cool."

Theriot pinch-hit for Corey Patterson in the sixth inning on Friday and broke out of a 2-for-34 slump with a two-run double.

Theriot, who was the Cardinals' Opening Day starter at shortstop, welcomed the move to second base because it lightens the load on his sore shoulder. He said the soreness came from taking extra cuts in the batting cage to straighten out his swing.

"It's a little dinged up," Theriot said. "[Thursday] night, I had some long throws and some tough throws and didn't feel it at all. Honestly, it's just from swinging too much."

La Russa elected to start Daniel Descalso at shortstop on Saturday, moving Theriot to second in part to protect his shoulder.

"That factors into it, made it kind of easy to do," La Russa said.

Baby birds

• Allen Craig went 1-for-5 in his fifth rehab game with Triple-A Memphis on Friday, but the Redbirds lost, 10-1, at Round Rock.

• Ryan Jackson led an offensive outburst for Double-A Springfield on Friday, going 2-for-5 with a home run, a triple and four RBIs to help the Cardinals down Northwest Arkansas, 11-4. Zach Cox and Jose Garcia each drove in a pair as well.

• Xavier Scruggs drove in the only run for Class A Palm Beach on Friday as the Cardinals lost, 2-1, against Clearwater. Arquimides Nieto started for the Cards and struck out six over 6 1/3 innings.

• Patrick Elkins led the charge for Class A Quad Cities on Friday, going 2-for-3 with a double and four RBIs as the River Bandits beat Peoria, 11-3. Colin Walsh hit a two-run homer and Ronny Gil paced the team with three hits.

• Nick Martini went 2-for-3 with three RBIs and Romulo Ruiz drove in a pair, but it was not enough for short-season Batavia as the Muckdogs lost, 11-7, to Staten Island on Friday.

• All nine starters registered a hit for rookie-level Johnson City on Friday, with Matthew Williams going 3-for-4 with three doubles as the Cardinals won, 10-4, against Bristol.

• The Gulf Coast League Cardinals beat the GCL Mets, 2-1, on Friday thanks to a sacrifice fly from Adam Ehlrich in the bottom of the eighth inning.


• Reliever Mitchell Boggs was unavailable to pitch on Saturday as manager Tony La Russa said he was dealing with back discomfort.

• La Russa hinted on Saturday that outfielder Allen Craig could rejoin the Cardinals sometime during their upcoming seven-day road trip.

• La Russa said catcher Tony Cruz was more available than Gerald Laird to play on Saturday. Both catchers left Thursday's game against Houston with hand injuries.

Austin Laymance is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.