Lance Berkman is ready for the expectations that go with wearing the pinstripes.
The New York Yankees sent reliever Mark Melancon and minor league infielder Jimmy Paredes to the Houston Astros on Saturday for the five-time All-Star first baseman, who will become the Yankees’ designated hitter. Houston will pay $4 million as part of the deal.
“I was thinking to myself on the way over here, I was like ‘Man, I’m going to play for the New York Yankees against the Tampa Bay Rays, basically for first place in the division,’ ” Berkman said. “Or I’d be going up to play the Milwaukee Brewers, you know what I’m saying, there’s like 10 people in the stands. Not to say anything bad, either about the Astros or the Brewers, it’s just the situation we were in this year.”
The Yankees also acquired pitcher Kerry Wood from the Cleveland Indians, the third deal in less than 24 hours for the World Series champions as they beefed up for the stretch run.
Late Friday, New York obtained outfielder Austin Kearns from Cleveland for a player to be named or cash.
The White Sox had a deal for Berkman, who rejected the trade.
For Wood, the Yankees sent Cleveland a player to be named or $500,000, and the Indians gave New York $2,172,131.
New York will pay $1.5 million of the $3,672,131 remaining on Wood’s $10.5 million salary this year.
His contract includes an $11 million team option for 2011.
Wood was activated from the disabled list by the Indians on Saturday. He had been sidelined by a blister on his right index finger. New York opened a roster spot by designating right-hander Chan Ho Park for assignment.
The Arizona Diamondbacks traded catcher Chris Snyder, minor league shortstop Pedro Ciriaco and cash to the Pittsburgh Pirates for former American League Rookie of the Year Bobby Crosby, outfielder Ryan Church and right-hander D.J. Carrasco.
The trade was the second of the day for the last-place Diamondbacks, who earlier sent reliever Chad Qualls to the Rays for a player to be named.
The Braves upgraded their outfield and bullpen, acquiring Rick Ankiel and right-hander Kyle Farnsworth from Kansas City for three players.
Atlanta sent reliever Jesse Chavez, outfielder Gregor Blanco and minor league pitcher Tim Collins to the Royals. Kansas City included cash in the deal.
Farnsworth is 3-0 with a 2.42 ERA.
The NL Central-leading Cardinals were the prime players in a three-team trade, getting former All-Star pitcher Jake Westbrook from Cleveland and sending outfielder Ryan Ludwick to NL West-leading San Diego. Cleveland sent cash to the Cardinals and Padres, and got minor league pitcher Corey Kluber from San Diego. St. Louis also acquired minor league lefty Nick Greenwood from San Diego. … The Dodgers got left-handed starter Ted Lilly and infielder Ryan Theriot from the Cubs for infielder Blake DeWitt and two minor league pitchers, and acquired reliever Octavio Dotel from the Pirates for right-hander James McDonald and minor league outfielder Andrew Lambo. … The Rays acquired reliever Chad Qualls, who had a career-high 24 saves last year, from Arizona for a player to be named. … The Red Sox acquired struggling catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia from the Rangers for two minor leaguers, a player to be named and cash. They also sent reliever Ramon Ramirez to the Giants for pitching prospect Daniel Turpen. … The Giants acquired left-handed reliever Javier Lopez from the Pirates for right-hander Joe Martinez and outfielder John Bowker. … The Tigers traded outfielder Wilkin Ramirez to the Braves for a player to be named or cash. … The Orioles traded left-hander Will Ohman to the Marlins for right-hander Rick VandenHurk.