Sale of Astros could be approved next week

Sale of Astros could be approved next week

HOUSTON -- Astros owner Drayton McLane said on Tuesday that he expects the pending sale of the club to a group led by Houston businessman Jim Crane to be approved by Major League Baseball, perhaps by the middle of next week.

"I definitely think it can get done by then," he said.

McLane announced in May that he had reached a deal to sell the team to Crane's group. The vote to approve the sale was on the agenda at the owners' meetings earlier this month, but Major League Baseball released a statement two weeks ago saying that it had postponed the vote and needed more time to complete its homework on the $680 million transaction.

Astros officials say that they haven't been informed that Crane's bid is in trouble. And McLane maintained on Tuesday that Major League Baseball's dealings with the Dodgers -- who are in bankruptcy -- and last week's hurricane that affected the East Coast have pushed the vote on the Astros sale further to the back burner.

"It's just gotten more complicated at the Commissioner's Office," he said. "Hopefully they're going to get back on it this week."

McLane said that the complaints filed against one of Crane's companies by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 1997 aren't an issue, and he didn't hesitate when asked if there was any reason to believe that the deal wouldn't be approved by the other owners.

"I think it will sail right through," he said.