Boone staging a comeback worth rooting for

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041010_boone_vmed_10p.standard[1].jpgFive months after undergoing open-heart surgery, Aaron Boone – or Aaron “Bleepin'” Boone, as Red Sox fans know him – is about to return to the major leagues.

He’ll join the Houston Astros on Friday, then be activated when rosters expand on Tuesday, Sept. 1.

Boone has been playing in the minors since Aug. 10, and to be honest, he hasn’t done a whole lot, going 3-for-15 at Double-A Corpus Christi before moving up to Triple-A Round Rock, where he was 0-for-4 in two games.

But that’s really besides the point isn’t it?

Five months ago, doctors opened him up to perform an eight-hour procedure, cracking his sternum and replacing a leaky aortic valve. Now he’s back in the bigs.

Boone comes from a great baseball family. His brother, Bret, was a three-time All-Star with the Mariners, Reds, Braves and Padres. His father, Bob, was a four-time All-Star who caught more games than any catcher not named Carlton Fisk and Ivan Rodriguez. His grandfather Ray, was twice an All-Star.

Yet despite all that baseball royalty in his blood, Aaron Boone isn’t playing to earn accolades. Nor is he playing for money. He’s playing simply because he enjoys playing, and he enjoys life. (From the Statesman):

He may not play beyond 2009, a fate Boone said he’s comfortable with.
As he put it, “I’m looking forward to life after baseball.”
Not to mention life itself.

There’s a guy I can root for.

******

If you Twitter feel free to follow me at @Bharks.

Angels’ Andrelton Simmons opts out of final 5 games

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ANAHEIM, Calif. — Shortstop Andrelton Simmons has opted out of the remainder of the Los Angeles Angels’ season.

The Angels announced the four-time Gold Glove-winning shortstop’s decision Tuesday before they faced the San Diego Padres.

Los Angeles (24-31) is still technically in the playoff race with five games left in the regular season, and Simmons clearly caught the Angels by surprise, although the club said it respected his decision.

The 31-year-old Simmons, who can be a free agent this winter, is finishing his fifth year with the Angels. After spraining his ankle in late July and missing 22 games, Simmons is currently batting .297 with 10 RBIs while playing his usual stellar defense, albeit with four errors in 30 games.

“At this time, I feel this is the best decision for me and my family,” Simmons said in a statement. “We don’t know what the future holds, but we would like to sincerely thank the Angels organization and Angels fans for welcoming and making us feel at home.”

Manager Joe Maddon acknowledged he was caught by surprise when general manager Billy Eppler told him about Simmons’ decision Monday night after Simmons went 1 for 4 with an RBI single in the Angels’ home finale. Maddon texted Simmons, but hadn’t heard back by Tuesday afternoon.

“I’ve really enjoyed this guy a lot,” Maddon said. “I’m a big fan. This guy is a good baseball player, and I’ve enjoyed the conversations, too. It’s just unfortunate. He’s really a big part of what we’re doing right now.”

Simmons is a favorite of Angels fans for his defensive wizardry, and owner Arte Moreno has described Simmons as perhaps his favorite player to watch on the roster. Simmons has batted .281 with 36 homers and 281 RBIs during his five seasons with Los Angeles, and he won the Gold Glove in 2017 and 2018.

“He’s a thinking kind of a player, and I’ve enjoyed him a lot,” Maddon said.

Simmons will be a free agent this winter, and the Angels have an obvious replacement for him in David Fletcher, who has a .374 on-base percentage while regularly hitting leadoff for the Angels during his breakout major league season. Fletcher has been playing second base since Simmons’ return from injury.

But the Angels haven’t publicly closed the door on Simmons’ return, and he could be given a qualifying offer. Maddon has repeatedly said he would like Simmons to return in 2021 if possible.

The Angels haven’t had a winning season during Simmons’ five years in Anaheim, although Simmons said last week he wasn’t discouraged by the lack of team success. Simmons played his first four major league seasons in Atlanta, and he hasn’t appeared in the postseason since 2013.

Simmons also said he hadn’t been involved in any recent contract talks with the Angels, but he had enjoyed playing for the club. When asked if he wanted to return to the Halos, Simmons said he would have to “plead the fifth.”