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Archive for Sunday, March 20, 2005

Astros sign Berkman for six years, $85 million

March 20, 2005

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— Houston outfielder Lance Berkman completed a six-year, $85 million contract Saturday with the Astros, keeping the three-time All-Star from becoming a free agent after the 2005 season.

"I'm just thrilled to make this type of commitment to the team," Berkman said. "I want to play every game of my career in an Astros uniform. I think this definitely solidifies in my mind that this is the place I want to be, and that this is the organization I love and want to help make a champion."

Berkman avoided salary arbitration in February when he signed a one-year deal worth $10.5 million in February. The new contract, which runs 2005-10, will include the money he was set to make this year. The Astros also hold an option for 2011.

"We're certainly pleased with Lance's commitment to be a Houston Astro," team owner Drayton McLane said. "Lance is one of the best players in all of baseball, and he's got a tremendous future with us. This is a great day for the Astros."

Berkman hit .316 with 30 homers and 106 RBIs last season, helping the Astros get within one game of their first World Series. He led Houston in batting average, homers, walks, slugging percentage, total bases, on-base percentage and games.

But he is expected to miss the start of the 2005 season after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee during a flag football game in November.

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