While the Houston Astros will open the 2013 regular season at home against the Texas Rangers, the two clubs are already doing battle this offseason over free agent first baseman/designated hitter Lance Berkman.
Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow confirmed for FOX 26 Sports that he had been in touch with Berkman on Thursday and Friday and talks are continuing.
Meanwhile, Rangers president Nolan Ryan told FOX 26 Sports he has an offer on the table to Berkman and is waiting for his decision, not only on the offer, but whether Berkman wants to continue his playing career.
"Obviously we have an interest in Lance," Ryan said. "Lance is deciding if he wants to play another year, an extended period of time.
"We've just taken the position that we've told Lance we have an interest and when he makes his decision then we would like to try to do something with him."
When asked if the Rangers have made an offer to Berkman Ryan said, "Yes we have.
"We are looking for a designated hitter and we feel like that he certainly would fill that bill."
Ryan believes if Berkman chooses to play again he can be an important asset to any Major League team.
"I think if Lance is healthy I think he can play a big role for any ballclub because of the quality hitter he is."
Ryan said he and Berkman have known each other for a long time.
"I've known Lance ever since he was at Rice," Ryan said. "It's been good. We as a ballclub have had interest in him previously and it just hasn't worked out.
"I would like to think he would want to go to a club that feels like they're going to be competitive."
Berkman, who played college baseball at Rice University, was with the Astros from 1999-2010, becoming one of the franchise's all-time great players.
The Astros traded Berkman to the New York Yankees during the 2010 season.
He played for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2011 and 2012.
Berkman was an All-Star with the Cardinals in 2011 and helped lead them to the World Series title.
He was limited to playing in only 32 games last season because of a knee injury, but told FOX 26 Sports in November if he chooses to play again that will not be an issue.