07/06/08 11:25 PM ET
Berkman scratched from finale
Slugger diagnosed with pink eye, may play on Monday
By Alyson Footer / MLB.com
"I called [manager Cecil Cooper], and I was like, 'Coop, I don't know what the deal is, but I may not be able to go, because I can't open my left eye,'" Berkman said.
As he packed up his bags following the Astros' 17-inning, 7-6 loss to the Braves later that evening, Berkman pointed to his pink dress shirt and joked that he wore it so it would match his eye.
Despite the illness, Berkman made an appearance in Sunday's game, pinch-hitting for Dave Borkowski in the 15th inning. He faced Braves reliever Manny Acosta with the bases loaded and two outs, and he sent a fly ball to left-center.
"He said he was fine and he wanted to go," Cooper said. "I kind of hesitated several times until I finally said, 'OK, go ahead.' It was a good situation -- bases loaded, two outs -- they've got to pitch to him. I wasn't going to spin him just to spin him."
Said Berkman: "They can't afford to walk you in that situation, so I felt like I knew he was going to throw a first-pitch fastball away, and I thought I did a pretty good job putting a swing on it, considering you've been sitting around all day and it's tough to get into the flow of the game."
Berkman was also on deck to pinch-hit in the 12th, but Carlos Lee made the last out and Reggie Abercrombie pinch-hit to lead off the 13th.
The general term thrown around the clubhouse earlier on Sunday morning to describe Berkman's eye was "goopy." He's taking antibiotics, and he could be available to play Monday in Pittsburgh.
Before he pinch-hit on Sunday, Berkman spent most of the game inside the clubhouse, away from his teammates.
"I tried to stay as far away as I could, so that I wouldn't contaminate the rest of the team," Berkman said.
Alyson Footer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.