Astros, Rangers among teams interested in Berkman

Jeff Curry

The veteran hasn't made a decision on whether to play in 2013, but he already has offers from both teams in his hometown state.

Free agent Lance Berkman hasn't decided yet if he will return for what could be his 15th season playing Major League Baseball, but that is not because of a lack of interest in him.

The Rays, Red Sox, Orioles, Phillies have expressed interest in adding the veteran, but he already has two offers from teams located in his hometown state of Texas.

The Astros and Rangers have extended contract offers to Berkman, and they're considered to have an advantage since the 36-year-old is from the state of Texas, born in Waco and drafted out of Rice University in Houston.

Astros General Manager Jeff Luhnow has spoken with Berkman since mid-November and got in touch with him again Friday, according to a report by the Houston Chronicle. However, the team which Berkman played for twelve seasons is considered to have less of a chance to sign him, since other teams could pay more money and are more attractive than a rebuilding organization coming off two straight 100-loss seasons.

The Rangers consider Berkman as a possible designated hitter with proven switch-hitting power, and he can also play first base or a corner outfield spot. Berkman playing as a DH could lessen his chances of an injury, a substantial concern considering he only appeared in 32 games in 2012 due to health reasons.

"We've talked to him," Rangers president Nolan Ryan told MLB.com. "We're waiting to hear back from him to see what his level of interest is and if he is going to play again next year."

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