HOUSTON -- Having faced Randy Wolf before, Lance Berkman is glad to have the veteran lefty on his side.

"I love Randy, I hate hitting off him," the first baseman said. "When he's healthy, he's very effective, so I look forward to him being on the team."

Wolf is 4-4 in 11 starts against Houston, and he has struck out 42 Astros in his career.

The trade is not the first time Houston has tried to get Wolf in an Astros jersey. Astros general manager Ed Wade considered signing the starter as a free agent this offseason.

"He's got a very deceptive fastball -- at least from me hitting off him -- and a very good changeup, and he's a guy that's been around and knows what he's doing on the mound," Berkman said. "He's not just somebody that flings the ball at the plate. He's got an idea. Very good competitor. I've faced him several times and always been impressed with his competitive nature."

Astros manager Cecil Cooper said he "saw a lot of fire" in Wolf when the two met in the winter.

"I know one thing, he's a big-time competitor," Cooper said. "I like the fact that he's left-handed and he's a guy that looks like he goes deep into ballgames -- six, seven innings most of the time. He's a guy that competes every day, and I like that kind of guy."

The Padres got Triple-A right-hander Chad Reineke from the Astros in the deal.

Berkman said he was surprised by the move when he found out on Tuesday.

"I don't know about the Minor League system to say what all we have in the cupboard, but I didn't know that we had enough prospects to trade for somebody like Randy," he said. "So it's good that Ed was able to make this deal."