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Free agent Berkman awaits a contract offer

By By The Sports Xchange
Published On: Nov 19 2012 08:39:05 AM MST
Baseballs, sports, MLB

Lance Berkman plans to play baseball in 2013.

The only hitch is finding a team willing to employ him.

Berkman, a 36-year-old veteran who underwent two surgeries on his right knee last season, is still awaiting his first contract offer on the free agent market.

He told multiple media outlets that he reached out to the Houston Astros to offer to become the team's designated hitter. The Astros will need to fill that position when they move from the National League to the American League next season.

Astros owner Jim Crane acknowledged a recent meeting with Berkman.

"He was just seeing where we were at," Crane told KRIV-TV in Houston. "He expressed some interest in maybe working a deal out. We haven't gotten to (discussing a 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 spent the first 12 of his 14 major-league seasons with the Astros prior to signing with the St. Louis Cardinals as a free agent in December 2010. He was an All-Star for St. Louis in 2011, his sixth appearance on the NL team, before his injury-plagued 2012 season.

In 32 games last season, Berkman hit .259 with two homers and seven RBI.

Berkman has a backup plan in place in case he fails to land another big-league contract. He agreed to become a volunteer assistant coach at Rice University under coach Wayne Graham.

"Coaching is something I want to pursue after I am done playing," said Berkman, a Rice alumnus. "If you have any aspirations to be a college baseball coach, the one guy you want to learn from is coach Graham."