GOODYEAR, Ariz.: It's not unusual to have former players visit training camp. Today, Aaron Boone showed up all the way from north Scottsdale, on the other side of town.
Boone was with the Indians in 2005 and 2006 and was one of General Manager Mark Shapiro's favorite players, as much for his personality and character as his ability. Boone played for current Tribe manager Manny Acta in Washington in 2008 before finishing his career last year in Houston, where his season was interrupted for open heart surgery to replace an aortic valve.
Now, Boone is ready to start a new career as a baseball commentator for ESPN. He is contracted to do 75 events, which includes studio work and game color.
He looks like he is in shape to continue his baseball career. ""People say I look thinner, but my weight is just about the same as when I played.,'' he said.
As Boone watched batting practice, Travis Hafner was stationed at shortstop, where he snagged a couple of ground balls. But instead of throwing overhand to the second baseman, he flipped the ball underhand with his glove hand.
""I really haven't thrown a ball in probably two years,'' he said.
The Tribe broke in a new batting practice pitcher today, public relations chief Bart Swain, who turned 40 last week. Swain used to throw BP when Charlie Manuel managed the club, but he's been idle ever since.
Maybe that is to Swain's advantage, because he's well rested. ¶