Could Lance Berkman return to the Astros in 2013?

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We still have an entire season of baseball ahead of us, but let’s just say the Astros haven’t ruled out the possibility.

Lance Berkman was in attendance last night at the annual Houston baseball dinner, which celebrated the franchise’s 50th anniversary. Berkman, who was honored at the event, actually had a good line about the recent mini-controversy over a potential name change for the franchise (via Brian McTaggart of MLB.com).

“I want to thank the Houston Lone Stars for this award,” Berkman said. “What? They didn’t approve that? It’s still the Astros?”

New Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow later took the stage and jokingly alluded to the possibility of pursuing “The Big Puma” before the team makes the move to the American League West next season.

“Let him finish out his contract with St. Louis. And when we get over to the American League [in 2013], we’re going to need a DH,” Luhnow joked.

Berkman, who attended Rice University in Houston, was a first-round pick of the Astros in 1997 and spent nearly his first 12 big-league seasons with the team before being traded to the Yankees in July of 2010.

Nothing wrong with a little joking in a casual setting, but Berkman’s return would probably cheer up some fans who are unhappy with being forced to switch leagues. For now, it’s just a fun possibility to ponder.

Braves sign David Hernandez

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Bill Whitehead of the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that the Braves have signed reliever David Hernandez to a minor league contract on Sunday. He’ll report to spring training as a non-roster invitee.

Hernandez, who turns 32 years old in May, signed a minor league contract with the Giants in February. He requested and was granted his release on Friday when he learned he wasn’t making the team’s 25-man roster to open the season.

Hernandez pitched for the Phillies last year. He compiled a 3.84 ERA with an 80/32 K/BB ratio in 72 2/3 innings.

Dave Roberts: It “doesn’t make sense” for Scott Kazmir to start year in Dodgers’ rotation

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Scott Kazmir won’t begin the regular season in the Dodgers’ starting rotation. Manager Dave Roberts said after Kazmir’s Cactus League outing on Sunday that it “doesn’t make sense” for the ailing Kazmir to break camp in the rotation, Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times reports. The lefty will instead rehab some more and join the rotation at a later time.

Kazmir has been battling a hip issue which has caused his mechanics to suffer. He was clocked in the low 80’s 10 days ago and wasn’t much better on Sunday afternoon.

Last season with the Dodgers, Kazmir posted a 4.56 ERA with a 134/52 K/BB ratio in 136 1/3 innings, his worst numbers since returning to the majors in 2013.