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KISSIMMEE, Fla. — Astros first baseman Lance Berkman will have arthroscopic surgery Saturday to remove loose particles from his left knee and could miss opening day.

Berkman was examined today by team physician Dr. David Lintner, who was making his scheduled trip to the Astros’ spring training complex. Lintner will be present as Dr. David Crumbie performs the surgery early Saturday morning at the Florida Hospital in Kissimmee.

Berkman will likely be out two to four weeks, putting the April 5 season opener in jeopardy.

“Obviously, there are no guarantees when you’re talking about a surgical procedure,” Berkman said. “It’s frustrating and disappointing.”

The 34-year-old Berkman suffered the contusion in a baserunning drill two weeks ago and was forced to miss the Grapefruit League opener.

They first tried taking a less invasive route. Berkman had the knee drained twice before scheduling the surgery, but it continued to swell.

“I felt like there was a pretty good chance from the first episode that we might have to get this done,” Berkman said.

General manager Ed Wade said that surgery could not have followed right away after the initial MRI because Berkman was still waiting for an external bruise to heal on that knee, and a surgical procedure would have presented an infection risk.

Wade and manager Brad Mills said that they’re glad Berkman is getting this taken care of now rather than continuing to wait out the non-surgical track.

“If it’s readily resolving, it’s advantageous to get it done now,” Wade said.

In Berkman’s absence, Mills will give Geoff Blum the majority of the starts at first base. Chris Shelton will also get some time, and Jeff Keppinger could also see some action.

In other Astros news, Alberto Arias saw Lintner and received no diagnosis other than having some inflammation in his strained trapezius. Wade hopes he can begin throwing Saturday.

The Astros’ game at Toronto in Dunedin, Fla., was rained out, making the second consecutive cancellation. The rotation will go on as planned. Today’s scheduled starter, Brian Moehler, returned to Osceola County Stadium to get his work in.