Yan­kees set to ac­quire Berk­man from Hous­ton

First base­man waives no-trade clause; Astros to get 2 prospects

Austin American-Statesman - - SPORTS - By Ron­ald Blum

NEW YORK — The Yan­kees ex­pect to ac­quire Lance Berk­man from the Hous­ton Astros to­day and al­ready worked out a deal to ob­tain out­fielder Austin Kearns from the Cleve­land In­di­ans.

New York will send a cou­ple of prospects to the Astros, a base­ball ex­ec­u­tive fa­mil­iar with the dis­cus­sions said.

“Noth­ing’s been com­pleted,” Berk­man said Fri­day in Hous­ton, be­fore the Astros played Mil­wau­kee.

A five-time All-Star, Berk­man has full no-trade rights and his ap­proval was nec­es­sary for a trade. He was not in the start­ing lineup against the Brew­ers.

“I’m from Texas. Heck, I played at Rice. This city is like the womb. I feel very com­fort­able here. To think about the pos­si­bil­ity of go­ing any­where else is kind of scary,” said Berk­man, who grew up in Austin and played at New Braunfels Canyon High.

“My ideal sit­u­a­tion is to win a ti­tle here. If this or­ga­ni­za­tion feels those aims are bet­ter ac­com­plished by try­ing to strip down this ros­ter and reload with younger guys,

Con­tin­ued from C I don’t want to stand in the way of that,” Berk­man said. “If they ap­proached me with some­thing that made sense, I’d sure think about it.”

The 34-year-old Berk­man be­gan Fri­day hit­ting .245 with 13 homers and 49 RBIs.

Berk­man said Astros gen­eral man­ager Ed Wade dis­cussed a pos­si­ble trade with him.

“He ap­proached me two days ago with a list of prob­a­bly eight teams that had expressed some in­ter­est. There were four yeas and four nays. There were some that were just no pos­si­bil­ity,” Berk­man said.

“In one way, it’s good if there are teams that still want me to play for them. That makes me feel pretty good, par­tic­u­lar in a down sea­son,” Berk­man said. “I still have con­fi­dence that I could play at a high level. It’s a good feel­ing to hear these trade ru­mors. Ob­vi­ously, these scouts from other teams feel that same way or else I wouldn’t be in the con­ver­sa­tion.”

Berk­man would fill the des­ig­nated hit­ter slot orig­i­nally in­tended for Nick John­son, who re­turned to the Yan­kees dur­ing the off­sea­son. John­son has been on the dis­abled list since May 8 with a right wrist in­jury that re­quired surgery.

Berk­man, last an All-Star in 2008, is mak­ing $14.5 mil­lion this year.

His con­tract in­cludes a team op­tion for 2011 at $15 mil­lion with a $2 mil­lion buy­out.

“You don’t al­ways get to pick how you leave an or­ga­ni­za­tion,” Berk­man said.

“If and when it comes time to move on, I’ll do it with as much grace as I can muster.”

Kearns left Cleve­land’s game at Toronto in the sev­enth in­ning on Fri­day night, and his trade to the Yan­kees was con­firmed by the ex­ec­u­tive.

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