Lance Berkman visits Astros

Lance Berkman and Houston Astros owner Jim Crane met last week and discussed a potential return to the team for the free agent first baseman.

"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 that (contract discussion). I think his knee is still up in the air. So we've got to get that all worked out. It was a get-acquainted meeting, really."

Berkman, who will turn 37 in February, played in just 32 games this past season for the St. Louis Cardinals because of knee injuries. He hit .259 with two home runs and seven RBIs before having season-ending knee surgery in September.

That disappointing season was in stark contrast to Berkman's 2011, when he hit .301 with 31 home runs and 94 RBIs in helping the Cardinals win the World Series.

Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak said last month it was unlikely the team would re-sign Berkman, even in a reduced role.

Berkman, a Texas native who played collegiately at Rice in Houston, was a first-round pick of the Astros in 1997. He played 12 years there, making the All-Star team five times, before being traded to the New York Yankees in 2010.

Berkman said in October he'd probably decide whether he'll try to keep playing in a month or two, depending on interest from other teams but joked he didn't want to keep playing "for $500,000 with Seattle."

"I think he has an interest," Crane told KRIV-TV. "All of that will depend on his knee and probably the price, if he gets any other offers or what. If all that works out -- and there are a lot of ifs there -- possibly he could do some DH-ing for us."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.