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Pirates notebook: Team interested in veteran Berkman

| Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013, 8:18 p.m.

The Pirates have inquired about free agent first baseman Lance Berkman, agent Mike Moye said Thursday. But Moye said his client has not committed to returning to play baseball in 2014.

Berkman was outstanding as recently as 2011 with the Cardinals but has struggled with injuries each of the past two seasons when he played a combined 105 games. Berkman, who will be 38 in February, hit .242 with a .340 on-base mark and six homers in 73 games last season. The Texas Rangers declined to pick up his option for 2014.

Berkman could help a team as a pinch-hitter or platoon partner, or as a designated hitter in the American League. Berkman is better from the left side of the plate, where he is a .301 career hitter.

The Pirates struggled to produce consistent offense from first base and right field last season.

The Pirates strengthened those positions with the trade acquisitions of Marlon Byrd and Justin Morneau in August, but both became free agents after the season. Byrd signed a two-year, $18 million deal with the Phillies earlier this month.

Postseason players' shares announced

MLB announced postseason shares for players.

The Pirates players' pool was $2.03 million. The Pirates were awarded 49 full shares, each worth $35,558. The Pirates also were awarded 8.25 partial shares.

The players' shares for the World Series champion Red Sox are worth $307,322 apiece.

Pirates to be honored at Chuck Cooper Luncheon

The annual Chuck Cooper awards luncheon will take place Feb. 18 at Lexus Club at PNC Park, where the Pirates will be honored for their commitment to diversity and their work in the minority community.

Pirates president Frank Coonelly will accept the award. For details about the luncheon, including sponsorships or ticket purchases, visit www.chuckcooperfoundation.org or contact Jim Lachimia at 412-708-9301.

The Chuck Cooper Foundation was founded in 2011 to preserve the legacy of Cooper, the former Duquesne basketball star who was the first African-American player drafted by an NBA team, selected by the Boston Celtics in 1950.

Travis Sawchik is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at tsawchik@tribweb.com or via Twitter @Sawchik_Trib.

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