Boone back with Tribe next season

Boone back with Tribe next season

CLEVELAND -- Aaron Boone will be back with the Indians next season.

The Indians have restructured and exercised the 2006 club option on their third baseman. The deal also includes a mutual player/club option for the 2007 season.

After a rough first two months, in which he hit below .200, Boone has regrouped at the plate.

"He's been the person we wanted and, the last two months, he's been the player we wanted," said Indians general manager Mark Shapiro.

Boone's ability to handle adversity is a big reason why Shapiro thinks he's a part of the Indians' future.

"I don't think you tell much about people and how they handle a situation when things are going well," said Shapiro. "It's when things aren't going well that you tell about a person. Aaron has handled things very well."

Boone had a $4.5 million option for next season, an option that would have kicked in when he reached 500 plate appearances. (He had 361 appearances going into Wednesday night's game.) Boone will make a guaranteed $3.75 million in 2006 with the restructuring of the contract.

"When I was in the doldrums of the lowest point of my career, they stood by me," said Boone. "I'm sure I toed the line a couple of times, but they stuck with me."

Shapiro said that he first started talking with Boone about a new deal about two or three weeks ago.

"For me, it's kind of a loyalty issue," said Boone.

Boone is hitting .226 (74-for-327) with 13 doubles, 10 homers and 38 RBIs in 92 games this season but has picked up his production of late. He's hitting .298 with nine doubles, six homers and 23 RBIs in 47 games since June 4, and is batting .290 in 18 games since the All-Star break.

Defensively, he has made 10 errors in 250 chances.

Boone, 32, missed the entire 2004 season after injuring his left knee playing basketball in the 2003-04 offseason. He was released by the Yankees and signed with the Indians on June 26, 2004. He had knee surgery on Feb. 16, 2004, and a second operation on Aug. 20, 2004.

"I've felt fine physically all year," he said. "I wasn't struggling because of that. I'm sure [missing an entire season] was part of the reason I struggled. I think I've learned a lot from that."

The seven-year veteran is a career .265 hitter with the Reds, Yankees and Indians.

Steve Herrick is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.