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The Berkman deal likely will be completed before Saturday's trade deadline. The Astros will pick up $4 million of the $7 million owed to Berkman this year and in his 2011 option, sources said.The Yankees will send two prospects to the Astros: reliever Mark Melancon and infielder Jimmy Paredes. Earlier Friday, Berkman vetoed a trade to the White Sox, USA Today reported. When asked by ESPNChicago.com to comment on the report, Chicago general manager Kenny Williams said via e-mail: "I won't deny the truth. It is what it is." The Fox affiliate in Houston and Yahoo Sports also reported that Berkman was on the verge of being traded to New York. Although sources said Berkman had waived his no-trade clause, the deal can't become official until 24 hours after he is approached with the trade, per baseball rules. And Berkman would not confirm that he had agreed to waive the clause. "Nothing's been completed," said Berkman, who was not in the lineup for the Astros' game against the Brewers in Houston. "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," Berkman said. The Yankees turned their attention to Berkman after their pursuit of Adam Dunn stalled. "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, I don't want to stand in the way of that," Berkman added. "If they approached me with something that made sense, I'd sure think about it."
At this stage of his career, Berkman is not at the same level as Dunn as a player. Berkman, 34, entered Friday with 13 homers, 49 RBIs and a .245 batting average.Berkman said Astros general manager Ed Wade discussed the possibility of a 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, particularly 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."
Adding Berkman would be a further indication that the Yankees don't think Nick Johnson will return to top form from his wrist injury. Berkman would be a DH and pinch hitter for the Yankees.
The five-time All-Star is making $14.5 million this season. He has a team option for $15 million for next year 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."
Information from ESPNNewYork.com's Andrew Marchand and The Associated Press was used in this report.