Lance Berkman began last season on the fifteen-day disabled list recovering from knee surgery and never really returned to form before being traded from Houston to the Yankees to serve as a designated hitter. During the entire 2010 season Berkman (a.k.a. Big Puma, a.k.a. Fat Elvis) hit just fourteen home runs and 58 RBIs while batting .248 — the lowest since his rookie season. After his loan to the Yankees, it was expected that Berkman would return for a swan song in Houston before retiring. Only problem with that? Houston didn't want to pick up his $8 million salary, so the Cardinals stepped in to see if the 35-year-old still had any gas left in the tank. Moreover, the Cardinals gambled that Berkman's knee was healthy enough to return him to the outfield from first base. The bet paid off in spades. By midseason, Berkman had played his way onto the National League All-Star team, with 24 home runs, 63 RBIs and a .401 OBP. He'll probably go down as the Cardinals' 2011 MVP — he has actually been a much bigger threat at the plate this year than Albert Pujols. Now, who would have predicted that in April?
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