Cardinals first baseman Lance Berkman conceded after Wednesday's 4-3 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers that a two-month layoff for knee surgery and rehabilitation has compromised his bat speed.

Insistent that he could complete his rehab as part of the major-league club rather than on a brief minor-league assignment, Berkman endured a 0-for-nine trip featuring more ejections and errors (one apiece) than RBIs. Though pleased with his ability to track pitches after a long absence, Berkman recognizes he is not swinging with the same authority.

"The fact is I feel great in terms of how I'm seeing the ball," Berkman said. "I'm not swinging at many bad pitches. I feel like my timing is good. What's lacking is bat speed. I just don't have any bat speed right now."

Berkman made Wednesday's final out when he drove a fly ball just shy of the Miller Park left field warning track. Under different circumstances Berkman was certain he would have changed the game with the swing.

"That's a grand slam," he said. "That ball is hit well enough on the bat if I have my normal bat speed that ball goes out of the ballpark. I don't and it died on the warning track."