Notes: Boone a possibility at second

Notes: Boone a possibility at second

WASHINGTON -- With second baseman Jose Vidro battling knee and quadriceps injuries and Junior Spivey on the disabled list because of a fractured right radius, the Nationals have expressed interest in Bret Boone, who was released by the Twins on Monday.

Boone batted .170 (9-for-53) with three RBIs in 14 games with the Twins, who acquired him from the Mariners in a trade on July 11. Overall, he was hitting .221 with seven home runs and 37 RBIs.

The Nationals are willing to pick up Boone on one condition. They want him to spend at least a week in the Minor Leagues before he plays another Major League game.

"I would have no interest in signing him right now and bring him to the Major Leagues," interim general manager Jim Bowden said. "I would have interest in signing him to a Minor League contract and try to fix him so that I would have some depth (on the Nationals) if Vidro breaks down."

According to his father, Bob Boone, who is the Nationals' special assistant to the general manager, Bret is trying to figure out what to do with the rest of his playing career. Bret is currently spending time with his family and will take a week off to decide his future in baseball.

"Bret misses his family. He hasn't seen his kids in three weeks," the father said over the telephone.

Mr. Boone has been Bret's hitting coach for years and he believes he can straighten him out. In fact, Bob had plans to go to Minnesota to work with his son, but the session was cancelled after the Twins let Boone go.

"Bret has to get his head right. He has some hitting mechanics he has to straighten out," the father said.

If he decides to join the Nationals, Boone will work with his father on hitting.

"He has a lot of hitting left in him. I would hate to see him cut it short [and retire]," said Bob.

For several years, Boone was considered one of the best second basemen in baseball. His best season was in 2001, when he hit .331 with 37 home runs and 141 RBIs for the Mariners.

Boone also played for Bowden in Cincinnati as well as spending time with the Braves and Padres.

It's official: Barry Larkin, the special assistant to the general manager, said on Tuesday that he will not play for the Nationals this season. He said he has family and business commitments that he must take care of.

"My daughter is going to high school for the first time and I want to be there when it happens," Larkin said on the telephone.

However, Bowden said Larkin will be on the next road trip starting Aug. 9, when the Nationals play the Houston Astros in a three-game series.

"He's going to dress and work out with the players because I believe that his leadership qualities can help this team," Bowden said. "He going to take ground balls and hit in the cage. People are going to ask if he's coming back and the answer to that is no."

Did you know: Brad Wilkerson was drafted by the Dodgers in the 13th round of the 1995 First-Year Player Draft. He did not sign with them and went to the University of Florida.

Stats of the day: Catcher Brian Schneider led the Nationals with .321 batting average for the month of July. He also led the team with a .353 on-base percentage.

On deck: The Nationals play the second game of a three-game series against the Dodgers on Wednesday night at Robert F. Kennedy Stadium.

Right-hander Tony Armas will get the start for the Nationals. Armas will face the Dodgers for the fifth time in his career. He is 1-1 with a 4.15 ERA against them. In his last start, Armas pitched six innings and gave up four runs on six hits against the Marlins, who defeated the Nationals, 4-3. He struck out only one batter, but walked four. Armas ended up throwing 112 pitches -- 60 of them for strikes.

Bill Ladson is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.