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Yankees Get First Baseman Lance Berkman in Trade With Astros

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July 31 (Bloomberg) -- The New York Yankees acquired first baseman Lance Berkman from the Houston Astros for two minor-league players, the Major League Baseball team said in a statement.

Berkman also will be used as a designated hitter, the Yankees said. Houston received right-handed pitcher Mark Melancon and infielder Jimmy Parades in return for the five-time All-Star.

The deal was completed before today’s 4 p.m. New York time deadline for player trades outside baseball’s waiver system. Trades can be made after then, but players must first pass through waivers, giving other teams the chance to claim them.

Berkman, 34, had spent his entire 11-year major-league career with Houston, batting .296 with 326 home runs and 1,090 runs batted in. He has a .245 average with 13 homers and 49 RBI this season.

The move comes a day after the Yankees acquired outfielder Austin Kearns from Cleveland.

New York has the best record in the majors at 65-37, leading the Tampa Bay Rays by one game in the American League Eastern Division heading into their game tonight in Florida. Houston is fifth in the six-team National League Central Division.

Melancon, 25, was 6-1 with six saves and a 3.67 earned run average in 40 games in relief at Triple-A at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He’s made 15 appearances for the Yankees over the past two seasons.

Paredes, 21, was batting .282 with 48 RBI and 36 stolen bases in 99 games at Single-A Charlotte.

To contact the reporter on this story: Bob Bensch in London at bbensch@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Elser at celser@bloomberg.net.