Bronx, NY (Sports Network) - The New York Yankees have given third baseman Aaron Boone his unconditional release.
Boone, 30, batted .267 with 24 home runs and 96 RBI in 160 games with the Yankees and the Cincinnati Reds in 2003. He was acquired by the Yankees on July 31 from the Reds for pitchers Brandon Claussen and Charlie Manning. With the Yankees, he hit .254 with six home runs and 31 RBI in 52 starts at third base.
Boone suffered a major knee injury this offseason that will likely keep him sidelined for most of the 2004 campaign. He apparently injured himself while playing basketball -- a violation of his current contract.
In Game 7 of the American League Championship Series, Boone homered leading off the bottom of the 11th inning, as the Yankees beat Boston to advance to the World Series.
Despite the homer, Boone struggled in the playoffs, hitting just .170 with 15 strikeouts. Boone is a career .270 hitter in seven major league seasons.
Without Boone's injury, New York almost certainly would not have traded for reigning AL MVP Alex Rodriguez, who is slated to play third base for the Yankees this season.