HOUSTON -- The chances of Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan coming back to the Astros could soon take another step toward reality.
Reid Ryan, Astros president of business operations and son of the Texas legend, said on Friday that owner Jim Crane was scheduled to meet with his father sometime next week. Crane said earlier in the week he was hoping to meet with Ryan "pretty soon," and that apparently will come within the next few days.
"If there's a fit here, really, Jim and Nolan need to talk at some time in the future," Reid Ryan said. "I keep telling people, 'I'm not trying to get your hopes up, because this might not come about.' I'm all for it, [general manager] Jeff [Luhnow] is in favor of it.
"If Jim and Nolan can work something out where everybody feels it's a good fit, and he can do whatever he would like to do in his personal life and be able to help the club in some capacity, I don't know why our organization wouldn't do that."
Nolan Ryan, citing a desire to spend more time on his ranch and with his family, stepped down as the chief executive officer of the Rangers at the end of October. Ryan said at the time he didn't expect to work for the Astros, who hired Reid in May.
"Certainly, we can make room for Nolan Ryan," Crane said on Tuesday. "We'll see how that works for the business side and the baseball side."
Nolan Ryan grew up near Houston and pitched nine of his 27 years with the Astros (1980-88), before finishing his playing career in Arlington. He was hired by former Rangers owner Tom Hicks as club president on Feb. 6, 2008.
Ryan later joined with an ownership group put together by Chuck Greenberg that submitted the highest bid in a bankruptcy auction on Aug. 12, 2010. When Greenberg was forced out in March 2011, Ryan added the title of CEO.
If Ryan does return to the Astros, his role likely won't be nearly as involved as it was with Texas. He worked for former Houston owner Drayton McLane in an advisory role from 2004-08.
"He brings credibility, he brings experience," Reid Ryan said. "He's like Roger [Clemens] in the fact you can use him in so many ways. I think the one thing is I don't think he has a desire to be in the office every day. He doesn't want to mess with my plan and Jeff's plan, and he wants to be there and help us both and help Jim. He loves this game and loves the Astros, even when he was in Arlington. Hopefully he and Jim can sit down and figure something out."
Crane, himself a former pitcher, is a Ryan fan.
"He's very accomplished and done a lot of great things," the owner said. "It certainly would be a great situation to the team if we could get him."
Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter.