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 claim Grant Dayton off waivers from Dodgers

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The Braves claimed lefty reliever Grant Dayton off waivers from the Dodgers, Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports.

Dayton, 29, underwent Tommy John surgery back in August and is almost certainly out for the entire 2018 season. The Braves, obviously, are making a longer-term play here by acquiring him, as he is under team control through 2022.

Over parts of two seasons in the majors, Dayton has a 3.42 career ERA with 59 strikeouts and 18 walks in 50 innings.