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Baseball adds two wild-card teams, moves Houston to AL West

November 17, 2011 | 11:36 am

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Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig announced Thursday that team owners unanimously approved Jim Crane as the Houston Astros' new owner and that as part of his agreement to buy the club, Crane will agree not to stop Major League Baseball from shifting the Astros to the American League in 2013, creating two 15-team leagues.

Selig also said two wild-card teams will be added to the playoffs no later than 2013.

"It's a historical day," Selig said.

Selig did not offer specifics on the schedule or playoff format, but said his committee for on-field matters favors the one-game playoff among wild-card teams in each league.

Crane is to receive a refund of approximately $70 million of his $660-million purchase price to mitigate the potential crimp on the Astros' local TV ratings with the move to the AL West, which means the Astros will play a lot of late West Coast games.

If the 2013 playoff format had been in place this season, the Tampa Bay Rays and Boston Red Sox would have met in a one-game playoff, with the winner advancing to the AL division series. In the National League, the St. Louis Cardinals and Atlanta Braves would have met in a one-game playoff.

"People can be critical, I understand that,'' Selig said, "but this is fair.''

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-- Houston Mitchell

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Photo: Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig, who announced Thursday that two wild card teams would be added to the playoffs no later than 2013. Credit: Morry Gash / Associated Press.

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