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Indians ready to sign Boone

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CLEVELAND — Free agent third baseman Aaron Boone has reached a tentative agreement on a two-year contract with the Cleveland Indians, the Associated Press learned Friday.

Boone, whose 11th-inning homer in Game 7 of the ALCS last season put the New York Yankees in the World Series, hasn't played since injuring his left knee during a basketball game in January.

The Indians, who outbid several other teams for Boone, plan to announce the signing this weekend if Boone passes his physical, according to two baseball sources who spoke to the AP on the condition of anonymity.

Indians general manager Mark Shapiro confirmed that the team was having contract talks with Boone. He also said the 31-year-old infielder was in Cleveland for medical tests.

Cleveland needs to make sure Boone's knee is sound before finalizing the deal.

Last winter, the club came close to trading shortstop Omar Vizquel to Seattle, but the deal fell through when Vizquel failed his physical for the Mariners.

The Indians will benefit from Boone's versatility. He can play third base, second base and shortstop. With Vizquel in the final year of his contract, Boone gives Cleveland some depth and options for 2005.

SOX LEFTY ON DL: The Chicago White Sox put left-hander Scott Schoeneweis on the 15-day disabled list Friday with an inflamed left elbow and recalled right-hander Felix Diaz from Triple-A Charlotte. Schoeneweis is 5-6 with a 4.36 ERA in 14 starts and has lost four straight decisions.

BECKETT ON DL: Florida Marlins right-hander Josh Beckett was placed on the 15-day disabled list Friday with a strained back muscle. Left-hander Michael Tejera was recalled from Triple-A Albuquerque and scheduled to start Saturday at Tampa Bay. Beckett is 4-4 with a 3.86 ERA. Tejera was 6-1 with a 3.58 ERA in 14 starts at Albuquerque.

METS-YANKEES RAINED OUT: The Subway Series opener between the Mets and Yankees was rained out Friday night, called before it ever began because of showers and a poor forecast.

The teams will make it up with a day-night doubleheader Sunday at Yankee Stadium, with the first game at 1:05 p.m. and the other starting at 8:05 p.m.

D-RAYS CALL UP GATHRIGHT: The Tampa Bay Devil Rays promoted outfielder Joey Gathright from Triple-A Durham and designated infielder-outfielder Jose Bautista for assignment Friday. Gathright was hitting .335 with 25 stolen bases in 85 games for Durham and Double-A Montgomery this season. He was in the lineup Friday night against the Florida Marlins, playing center field and batting second in his major league debut.

TWINS RECALL ROMERO: The Minnesota Twins recalled left-handed reliever J.C. Romero from Triple-A Rochester on Friday, and optioned infielder Alex Prieto to Rochester. Romero was sent to Rochester on June 12 after struggling with a 5.70 ERA in 32 appearances with the Twins. He started three games and had a 2.25 ERA with Rochester.