Boone bids cheerful visit to Astros

Boone bids cheerful visit to Astros

HOUSTON -- Aaron Boone was all smiles upon entering the Astros' clubhouse Wednesday as he greeted teammates and support staff he hadn't seen since his abrupt departure from Spring Training.

Boone, now six weeks removed from undergoing open-heart surgery, is in Houston simply for a visit. He'll be with the team, in uniform, for the two-game set with the Cubs, and he hopes to join the Astros again when they play in Arizona, June 12-14. Boone lives in Scottsdale.

"It'll be six weeks tomorrow [since the surgery], and I feel a lot better than I did two weeks ago," Boone said. "It's getting better all the time. The fact that I'm able to be here for a couple days ... I've been smiling since I got off the plane. It's great to come back and see everyone."

The 36-year-old Boone was signed last offseason to serve as the right-handed complement to Geoff Blum at third base. Those plans were scrapped on March 18, however, when Boone announced he had a heart condition involving the aorta and aortic valve that would require surgery. The operation effectively ended his season.

Boone said he does not know if he'll play baseball again, but he hasn't ruled it out.

"I don't want to get too ahead of myself, but I'm certainly not cashing it in yet," he said. "We'll see where I am four weeks from now, six weeks from now and go from there.

"I feel like I've always had a healthy perspective on that. [Baseball is] not everything to me, but it's important and I love it. I've been watching these guys on TV every night. It's nice to be here. I can lend some advice now. As I've told them, it's a real easy game from the couch."

Boone estimated he's lost between 12 and 15 pounds and has also lost a great deal of muscle, which will make it a challenge when he does get back to a training regimen in another six weeks. He joked about his diminished size, saying he looked down at his legs and "it's as if they fell off."

Boone appeared at ease as he hung around the cage during batting practice Wednesday, and even though he's never played a regular-season game as an Astros player, he very much feels a part of this team.

"I was talking to my agent a couple of weeks ago, and I was saying I feel like I've been here 10 or 12 years," Boone said. "From [club owner] Drayton [McLane] all the way down to everyone on this team ... and for that matter friends around the league and friends and even acquaintances across the country. The outreach has been touching. It's something I'll always remember."

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