Thursday, February 26, 2004
TAMPA, Fla. -- Third baseman Aaron Boone was released Thursday by the New York Yankees, nearly six weeks after hurting his knee in a pickup basketball game.
The injury, which could sideline him the entire season, set the stage for the Yankees to acquire Alex Rodriguez from Texas last week. Boone, an NL All-Star last season, becomes a free agent.
"It's a tough situation we're all in," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said. "You have to move on. We'd like to continue discussing the possibility of keeping him within the Yankees' fold in some form or fashion that would manifest itself with him maybe being a player for us next year."
Boone, 30, was hurt Jan. 16 and had surgery last week to repair the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. He already had agreed to a $5.75 million, one-year contract, but the Yankees contend Boone violated the guarantee language, which prohibited basketball.
New York says he is entitled to just 30 days of termination pay, which comes to $917,553 over the Yankees' 188-day season.
"We're exercising our rights in the contract," Cashman said. "Would we want to pay him the full salary despite the injury? That wouldn't make any sense whatsoever from a business perspective."
Boone hit the 11th-inning homer off Tim Wakefield that won Game 7 of the AL championship series against Boston. He batted .254 with six homers and 31 RBI last year for the Yankees, who acquired him from Cincinnati on July for left-handers Brandon Claussen and Charlie Manning. Overall, he hit .287 with 24 homers and 96 RBI last year.
"He'll get back from this injury," Cashman said. "He'll be down for almost the entire year, if not the whole season. We're looking toward next year, maybe. We don't have anything in place, but I do volunteer that we would be interested."