Originally posted on Fox Sports Midwest  |  Last updated 10/16/12
ST. LOUIS - If the Cardinals can beat the San Francisco Giants and advance to the World Series, they could get two key parts back to help them out. Pitcher Jake Westbrook and first baseman Lance Berkman both participated in a simulated game Tuesday at Busch Stadium and both are encouraged that they might be available eight days from now for the start of the World Series. Westbrook, out since suffering an oblique injury on Sept. 8, threw a 50-pitch simulated game as several members of the Cardinals coaching staff and front office watched on. "I felt great," Westbrook said. "I'm over the oblique stuff and now it's just kind of a mater of getting my arm back in shape. This is my fourth time off the mound since my oblique has been good. I felt really good and I'm excited about being ready to go if need be." The veteran right-hander said he recently threw a bullpen session while in Georgia for the birth of his son, that made him believe he was ready to go. But Tuesday's session allowed the Cardinals to see his status firsthand. "It was good to get out on the mound so they could see what I'm capable of doing and that I'm back and I feel real good," Westbrook said. "I definitely feel like I'm capable of going out there and getting the job done if need be. I'll definitely be ready." Berkman's situation is less clear but he also feels encouraged about the possibility of returning should the Cardinals advance into next week's World Series. The switch-hitter has played in just 32 games this season due to persistent pain in his right knee. It's been a frustrating and injury-plagued season for Berkman, who played seven games in April before landing on the disabled list with a calf strain and returned for only six games before having knee surgery in late May. Berkman returned in July but played in just 15 games before returning to the disabled list because of continued pain in his knee in early August. He was activated in September when rosters were expanded and appeared in just three games before undergoing what was thought to be season-ending surgery. He made one at-bat during the final game of the regular season and has apparently made enough progress that he's holding out hope for a return should the Cardinals advance. "I'm a lot closer than I was two weeks ago," Berkman said. "I'm just trying to get ready in case we make the next round of the playoffs and give myself a chance to be on the roster. "I think it's definitely possible. I'm not going to say that I'm definitely going to be, because a lot of it is not just how I feel physically. Its how the organization views my readiness to compete because essentially I haven't played all year and they may feel like there may be another guy that gives them a better chance to win, a guy that's had more reps. We'll see how it plays out." The main obstacle for Berkman remains running. He said Tuesday that, "I've done a little bit but I haven't done very much running. Obviously you have to be able to get around the bases without too much trouble. That's the next step and hopefully I'll be able to make that here in the next day or so." Berkman would more than likely replace a bench player such as Adron Chambers while Westbrook could replace Shelby Miller or Fernando Salas. And of course for any of this to happen, they need to win three more games to reach the World Series.
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