Bret Boone was back in the Seattle Mariners' lineup last night after being benched for four games to work with hitting coach Don Baylor on his mechanics.
Boone, the Mariners' regular second baseman, was inserted into the sixth spot in the lineup. Jose Lopez, who replaced Boone at second, was not in the lineup.
"This isn't a tryout for Bret," Manager Mike Hargrove said before the home game with the Oakland Athletics. "Bret was our second baseman before and he's still our regular second baseman."
A three-time all-star and a four-time Gold Glove winner, Boone is hitting .227 with five home runs and 29 RBI in 64 games. He began this season with a .268 career batting average.
Boone had his best season in 2001, when the Mariners tied the major league record with 116 victories, hitting .331 with 37 homers and 141 RBI, all career highs.
Boone, 36, said he thought he worked out his hitting problems under the supervision of Baylor.
"We had a good few days," he said. "But you can never tell until you go out there in a game situation."
Boone has been lunging at the ball this season.
"You need to be in the right position," he said. "If you don't get in the right position, you're going to be in trouble."
Boone said he wouldn't feel any extra pressure from Seattle's fans now that he's playing again.
"I play for the people in the locker room," he said, "the other players, the coaches, the manager, the people in the organization."
The Mariners regard Lopez as their second baseman of the future. Boone is in the final season of his contract.
* YOUNG HURT: Detroit Tigers 1B Dmitri Young left yesterday's game against the Minnesota Twins with an injured index finger on his right hand.
Young was hurt while making a fielding error in the first inning in Minneapolis. Minnesota's Luis Rivas laid down a bunt that Tigers LHP Nate Robertson fielded and threw to first. But the ball glanced off Young's glove and then hit the index finger on his throwing hand.
Replays showed Young shaking his finger after the play. X-rays were negative and Young is day-to-day.
IF Jason Smith replaced Young in the second inning, the first time he has played first base this season.
* ALL-STAR COACHES: Detroit's Alan Trammell and Oakland's Ken Macha were selected as coaches for the American League in next month's All-Star Game by Boston Manager Terry Francona.
San Francisco's Felipe Alou and Milwaukee's Ned Yost were picked as the NL coaches by St. Louis Manager Tony La Russa.
"Picking the two coaches was a no-brainer," Francona said. "I coached Detroit in Tram's last year as a player. The guy's an all-star shortstop, a Hall of Fame candidate and it's his home ballpark. It's a natural."
-- From News Services