HOUSTON - Major League Baseball sources confirm for FOX 26 Sports that commissioner Bud Selig has asked Houston businessman Jim Crane to agree to move the Houston Astros to the American League if he is approved as owner of the team.
MLB sources told FOX 26 the fact that Crane has yet to agree to the request has kept him from being approved as owner.
That approval can only come from a vote of the game's owners.
Major League Baseball cannot move a team from one league to the other without that team's consent.
Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association may decide to expand the number of teams in the playoffs, and to do that they want each league and each divison to be balanced.
Right now the National League has 16 teams and the American League has 14 teams.
The only two divisions that aren't made up of five teams are the NL Central (six teams) and the AL West (four teams).
The Astros are in the National League Central.
MLB sources also told FOX 26 it is believed Crane can still get MLB's approval to buy the Astros franchise without consenting to move to the American League.
However, the sources said the issue of shifting the Astros franchise would be addressed again at a later date.
Crane has an agreement to buy the franchise from Drayton McLane for $680 million.
It was thought the deal was going to be voted on by the owners last month, but that vote was delayed according to baseball as it continued the approval process.
Crane is not available for comment.
McLane declined comment when asked by FOX 26 Sports to respond to this story.