Boone could be used as pinch-hitter
SEATTLE -- Seattle's Bret Boone is not happy about his situation but won't blame anyone but himself.
Boone was not in the lineup Saturday night against the Mets and manager Mike Hargrove said the veteran second baseman would not start during the final six games of the Mariners' homestand.
"I'm not mad at skipper. I'm more disappointed with myself putting him in a situation where he would think about doing this. That's what I'm angry about," Boone said before Saturday's game. "I think he wants me back to being me."
Boone will spend the next week working on his hitting mechanics, in hopes of improving his .227 average this season.
Hargrove said Boone's absence from the starting lineup might extend into Seattle's road trip to San Diego on Friday.
"We'll let him go probably through this homestand and maybe into the road trip. We'll see how it goes," Hargrove said. "It's a way to try and help Bret get his bat back where he and we both feel it should be."
Hargrove said he wouldn't hesitate at using Boone as a pinch-hitter or defensive replacement.
Infielder Jose Lopez, called up from Triple-A Tacoma before Friday's game, started for Boone. Lopez was promoted to give Hargrove more flexibility in the infield and the chance to allow Boone some time off.
Lopez played at third base Friday and was 2-for-4 with a double.
"Like I said before, this isn't a changing of the guard," Hargrove said.
The 36-year-old Boone averaged 30 homers and 112 RBI the past four seasons but has struggled most of this year. He has just five home runs, 29 RBI and 45 strikeouts in 238 at-bats.
Boone said he'd be working with hitting coach Don Baylor on some basics including hitting off a tee and soft-toss hitting in the batting cage. Boone did not take batting practice on Saturday and won't again until most likely Monday.
"I wish I could tell you, 'Man, my back's really bothering me ... or my eyes are blurred,' but I'm seeing great and the body feels really good," Boone said. "It's just my body hasn't been getting into the hitting position it needs to get into."
Hargrove said Boone has been lunging at pitches all season. He wants him to work on getting back to where he was in 2003, when he hit .294 with 35 home runs and 117 RBI.
"We just need to get some mechanics back to give him a more consistent base," Hargrove said.
Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press