Boone released after only three weeks with club

Updated: August 1, 2005, 8:40 PM ET
Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Twins released struggling second baseman Bret Boone on Monday, ending a failed experiment to jump-start the team's stagnant offense.

Bret Boone
Second Base
Minnesota Twins
88 7 37 33 .290 .221

The Twins acquired Boone in a trade with Seattle on July 11, hoping the Gold Glove winner would be able to regain the form that made him an MVP candidate in 2001.

But like the rest of Minnesota's offense, Boone struggled mightily in his 14 games with the Twins, hitting just .170 (9-for-53) with three RBI.

"Of course I'm disappointed," Boone said as he exchanged hugs with several teammates in the clubhouse before Monday night's game against Oakland. "I feel bad with the expectations coming in, and I didn't play well."

Not only was Boone ineffective on offense, but he also struggled in the field, committing costly errors in several games during the Twins' recent slide. The team had lost four in a row and eight of 10, falling four games behind Oakland in the AL wild-card race.

"He didn't play well here. He didn't hit the ball great, he didn't play great defense, but that's not the Bret Boone that we all know," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He's a very classy young man. I have a lot of respect for him."

Boone certainly hasn't been the only player struggling. The Twins have scored just 63 runs since the All-Star break, second-worst in the AL.

They recalled infielder Jason Bartlett from Triple-A Rochester to replace Boone. Bartlett started the season with the Twins after a promising spring training, but injuries and offensive futility prompted them to send him down.

Bartlett hit .332 with five homers and 33 RBI in 61 games for the Red Wings.

Boone knows there is much to be done for him to return to the level of play he expects from himself.

"I'm at a point where I need to retool my swing," he said. "That's a major commitment and a lot of work."

Whether the 36-year-old Boone will get another chance remains to be seen. He said he plans to return home and spend some time with his family before deciding his next move.

"I've got to go home, regroup and look in the mirror and decide what I want to do," Boone said.

On Monday, Boone sounded as though he wanted to continue playing.

"At some point you're going to look in the mirror and say, 'Physically, I can't do this anymore,' " Boone said. "I'm not at that point. I feel like I can still play at a high level ... But I have to get my mind right. I have to get my heart in the right place and have that hunger. This next week's going to be a big week for me to sort of reflect and spend it with my family."

It's been a difficult year for Boone, who struggled in Seattle and came to tears when he found out his time there was over. Then came the disappointing stint in Minnesota, which only seemed to strengthen his determination to continue playing.

"It's not a money thing," Boone said. "I've never played for that reason. It's a pride thing. I don't want to finish this way."

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press