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Out since May, Berkman activated off DL

CIN View Full Game Coverage CINNATI -- The Cardinals reinstated Lance Berkman from the disabled list on Saturday and anticipate inserting the first baseman back into the starting lineup for Sunday's series finale against the Reds.

Berkman appeared as a pinch-hitter in the seventh inning of Saturday's game and struck out.

Sunday's start would be Berkman's first since he left a May 19 game with a right knee injury. Surgery followed, though Berkman wrapped up his rehab work quicker than anticipated. His return also means that the Cardinals' disabled list is finally free of position players.

There have been only two other days this season -- May 13-14 -- in which the team has had all of its position players available.

The Cardinals do not plan to play Berkman in back-to-back games for a while, preferring to spread out his playing time since Berkman did not go through a Minor League rehab assignment. In games where he doesn't start, Berkman will still be available for use in a pinch-hit role.

"He's a great option to have coming off the bench," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "We're not going to be afraid to use him at all in that regard."

Eventually, the Cardinals will have the task of divvying up playing time between Berkman and Allen Craig at first base. Craig is also an option to play the corner-outfield spots, though Matt Holliday and Carlos Beltran will continue to take most of those at-bats.

"I really like how Allen has been playing first base," Matheny said. "I think he's been making some real nice plays. But we'll be trying to figure out ways to get every bat into that lineup at some point."

To make room for Berkman on the 25-man roster, the Cardinals optioned outfielder Shane Robinson to Triple-A.

St. Louis Cardinals, Lance Berkman, Shane Robinson