Burnitz hit 37 home runs in 2004

HOUSTON -- The Houston Astros are among several teams reportedly interested in outfielder Jeromy Burnitz.

Burnitz, 35, prefers to play center field, where the Astros have a vacancy after Carlos Beltran's departure to the New York Mets for a seven-year, $119 million contract.

The former All-Star outfielder's agent wants to reach a deal
quickly. Howard Simon said Tuesday he spoke with Astros general
manager Tim Purpura on Monday and that both sides are interested in
working out a deal for the free agent.

"They know that we have a short time schedule," Simon told the
Houston Chronicle for an article in Wednesday's editions. "We want
to get this thing done within a week with whoever we get it done.
He's very sensitive about playing with a contender, too."

Burnitz was also reportedly of interest to Tampa Bay,
Pittsburgh, Arizona and the Chicago Cubs.

In a 12-year career that has included stints with the Mets, Cleveland Indians, Milwaukee Brewers and Los Angeles Dodgers, Burnitz has a career average of .254 with 275 home runs and 845

Last season, Burnitz hit .283 with 37 home runs and 110 RBI for the Colorado Rockies, playing 69 games from center field at Coors Field. He hit 24 of those homers and drove in 68 runs in Denver's thin air. He hit .322 at home and just .244 on the road.

"He was very proud of the fact he has the capability to play
center field," said Simon. "He may not be as good in center field
as some of the pure center fielders, but everybody who's seen him
patrol center field in Coors is convinced he does at least, if not
better than, an adequate job."