Major League Baseball has approved the sale of the Houston Astros by current owner Drayton McLane to a group led by Houston businessman Jim Crane for $610 million.

But the bigger news is that the team will be moving leagues as part of the deal, from the National League Central Division to the American League West. That change won’t take place until 2013, though.

In addition, Major League Baseball is poised to expand the number of teams that make the playoffs.

Commissioner Bud Selig announced owners have given the green light to expand the current playoff system to feature two more wild card teams. While details are sketchy at this point, Selig did say they’re trying to figure things out to make it work and he hopes the new playoff format can begin next season.

The Astros move to the American League marks the first time Major League Baseball has realigned since the Milwaukee Brewers moved to the NL in 1998. The Astros move will give each league an even 15 teams. It sets up a potential rivalry between Houston and the Texas Rangers, while also creating the opportunity for interleague play to be on the schedule all season long.

[MLB.com]