Lance Berkman expressed interest in rejoining the Houston Astros

Bob Levey

Berkman spoke with team owner Jim Crane about a possible Houston reunion, though question marks surround his knee.

Lance Berkman discussed a return to Houston with Astros owner Jim Crane last week , according to Mark Berman of My Fox Houston.

"We had a chat in my office," Crane said. "He was just seeing where we were at. He expressed some interest in maybe working a deal out.

"We haven't gotten to that (discuss contract). I think his knee is still up in the air. So we got to get that all worked out. It was a get-acquainted meeting, really."

Berkman missed time last season due to calf and knee injuries, playing in just 32 games with the St. Louis Cardinals. In 2011, Big Puma finished seventh in National League MVP voting after posting a .301/.412/.547 line with 31 home runs 94 RBI and 90 runs.

Berkman was born and raised in Texas, went to college at Rice and was Houston's first-round pick in 1997. He spent 12 seasons with the Astros before being traded to the New York Yankees in July of 2010.

The Astros are moving to the American League West division in 2013, and don't have an obvious designated hitter option. Berman reported, however, Berkman isn't going to give much of a hometown discount.

"It just depends on what kind of money they are talking about," Berkman said. "Am I going to come back for a couple of million bucks, no.

"If they want to pay me close to what I feel like my value is in terms of what I bring to the table, I mean if they're going to ask me to be there and hit third and play every day and DH every day, I want to be compensated like a guy who is a Major League three-hole hitter.

"Obviously, I would be willing to take a little bit less because it's my hometown and for the opportunity to get back to the Astros organization. I'm just waiting for them to make some sort offer and go from there."

The Astros, who were 55-107 last season, opened last season with a payroll jsut over $60 million, so they could probably afford to spend some extra money if they're looking for a veteran presence.

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