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Astros rumors: Houston a fit for Lance Berkman?

Berkman could return to his former club as a DH.

Bob Levey

While the St. Louis Cardinals have made it known that they are unlikely to bring back Lance Berkman next season, the Astros could be a potential fit for the veteran, reports Chip Bailey of the Houston Chronicle:

Though he hasn’t suggested extending his career for this purpose, Berkman is within reach of a few statistical milestones. He’s only 40 home runs shy of 400 and needs only 157 hits to reach 2,000. Another season or two in an Astros’ uniform would cement him solidly in most stats’ categories just behind Bagwell and/or Craig Biggio.

If he’s healthy, Berkman could easily become the first regular designated hitter for the Astros, while also possibly spending some time as the backup first baseman. Houston could do worse.

Berkman, who missed much of the 2012 season with a variety of knee injuries, has not expressly stated whether he plans to play baseball next year. At just 36, however, it seems reasonable to speculate that Berkman could continue his career as a designated hitter.

Berkman spent the first twelve years of his career with Houston, though this would be just his second venture into the American League. Bailey posits that a two-year, $10 million deal with several playing-time incentives included would not be out of the realm of possibility for the Astros.

The switch-hitting Big Puma has now played in fourteen big-league seasons, hitting .296/.409/.544 with 360 home runs in that time.