MLB approves sale of Astros; team to move to AL West in 2013

Major League Baseball has approved the sale of the Houston Astros to a group headed by local businessman Jim Crane, and also announced that the longtime National League franchise will move to the American League West for the 2013 season.

Drayton McLane reached an agreement to sell the club to Crane in May for a reported $680 million. However, the decision to switch leagues may have lowered the sale price, as MLB.com reported the transaction to be $610 million.

The move from the NL Central to the AL West will balance both leagues with 15 teams apiece. It will set up a natural rivalry with the Texas Rangers, but will also necessitate the need for interleague play throughout the season.

Houston had been part of the National League since its expansion season of 1962, when the team was first known as the Colt .45s.

More to follow.