Lance Berkman cleared for rehab assignment, hoping to return Tuesday

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Lance Berkman told MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart today that his surgically repaired left knee has “turned the corner” and he’s now scheduled to begin a brief rehab assignment tomorrow at Triple-A.
Berkman is expected to play two games in the minors and, barring a setback, hopes to come off the disabled list to rejoin the Astros’ lineup Tuesday against the Marlins. He underwent arthroscopic surgery to remove loose cartilage in his left knee on March 13.
“I’m glad to be making some progress and am finally good enough to go out and see how it does in a normal game,” Berkman told McTaggart. “I’m very hopeful.”
Geoff Blum and Pedro Feliz have been filling in for Berkman at first base, which in addition to being a massive downgrade offensively just helped cost the Astros this afternoon’s game against the Cubs thanks to a bone-headed defensive play by Feliz.

Yu Darvish’s no-trade list revealed

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Ken Rosenthal has found out the ten teams on Yu Darvish‘s no-trade list per his contract. They are the Orioles, Red Sox, Cubs, Indians, Rockies, White Sox, Tigers, A’s, Pirates and Blue Jays. He has no right to veto trades to any other team.

As we’ve noted in recent days, the Dodgers are said to have a “strong interest” in Darvish. It’d not be at all surprising to see other contenders in on him too, at least as long as the Rangers keep listening to offers. In the no-trade category, it would seem that the Cubs and Indians would have a need, but it’s doubtful the Indians would make that kind of deal. The Cubs may, but of course they’d have to sweeten the deal for Darvish in order to get him to agree to waive his no-trade rights (which is often the point of having a no-trade provision).

Beyond the Dodgers, the Yankees and Astros are obvious potential suitors.

Darvish is 6-8 with a 3.44 ERA and has struck out 143 batters to only 43 walks in 133.1 innings.

The Royals are talking to the Jays about Francisco Liriano

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Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that the Kansas City Royals are in talks with the Toronto Blue Jays about a trade for Francisco Liriano.

Liriano is not having a good year, but an arm is an arm I suppose. Liriano’s arm has posted 5.99 ERA and 70/42 K/BB ratio through 76.2 innings across 17 starts. He’s a free agent to be, so he shouldn’t cost too much, of course.

Earlier this week Kansas City picked up  Trevor Cahill, Brandon Maurer, and Ryan Buchter from the Padres. They’ve also won seven in a row and are just a game and a half behind the first place Indians. They’re going for it with whatever help they can find.