The Astros placed him on the 15-day DL on Wednesday morning, retroactive to March 26, MLB.com reported. He will miss the first four games of the regular season.
Berkman had arthroscopic surgery on March 13 after the knee swelled in the first days of spring training. The team initially said Berkman would miss two to four weeks.
"Obviously it stinks to have to start the year on the DL, but I'll get off quick and never look back," Berkman said, according to the report. "I hate missing any games at all, but as long as it doesn't turn into an ordeal. Really just being eligible to come off Saturday [April 10] is good news."
Berkman suffered a setback Tuesday when he tried to run. He was still holding out hope he could be ready for Opening Day, but his knee began swelling after batting practice and infield drills, according to the report.
"I don't think [the knee] is going to be ready," Berkman told reporters. "It's cranky; it's sore and it's swollen.
"Yesterday was the most I'd done on it yet, so I don't think it's entirely unexpected to have it react that way. It's disappointing. I was hoping it wouldn't swell back up."
The 34-year-old All-Star, in the last year of his contract, has had knee problems before. He had arthroscopic surgery on the left knee in 1999 and had surgery following the 2004 season on his right knee after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.