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Lance Berkman still targeted by Astros

The 36-year-old first baseman/designated hitter played just 32 games in 2012, but the Astros are reportedly interested in bringing the veteran slugger back to Houston.

Mike Stobe

There is still a legitimate possibility that Lance Berkman could return to the Houston Astros, according to Brian McTaggart of MLB.com.

Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow reportedly spoke with the former Astros first baseman on Thursday and Friday, and while the 36-year-old hasn't commented publicly on whether he plans to play in 2013, the team might be interested in the switch-hitting slugger's services next season.

Luhnow told MLB.com on Wednesday:

"Obviously, if he feels he's healthy and ready to play, we'll have a conversation with him. He's still got a lot of value to add to a Major League team."

Berkman's possible role with the Astros is a bit murky, as Houston signed Carlos Pena to be the team's designated hitter last month and currently has a full 40-man roster, but Berkman has been in contact with the organization since November, so an agreement doesn't seem out of the question.

Berkman spent 1999-2010 with the Astros before being traded to the New York Yankees, and posted an impressive .301/31/94 line with the Cardinals in 2011 but played only 32 games in 2012 with a knee injury. He spent last fall as an assistant coach at Rice University, his alma mater.

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