Bret Boone made a tearful exit from the Mariners, who cut the three-time all-star yesterday after a half-season of struggles at the plate.

The second baseman, a 12-year veteran with 252 homers, was designated for assignment. Seattle has 10 days to trade him or put him on waivers.

"It's tough. I was looking at it, and I think it's all for the better, really. I think it's time for me to go," Boone said, his voice breaking up. "It's still emotional. I'm actually excited about what the future holds but . . . it's a pretty sad day for me."

Boone, 36, is hitting .231 with seven homers and 34 RBI. He was benched for four games two weeks ago to work on his swing with batting instructor Don Baylor. He played well during a three-game series in San Diego, but Manager Mike Hargrove said yesterday that "he has reverted back to where he was before."

Seattle is responsible for the remainder of his $8.25 million salary this year. Boone talked to his teammates after the game, then spoke with reporters.

"There was no anger. It was kind of sad," Boone said. "Once it happened, I went home. I just wanted to collect myself and watch and think about what happened."

He added that he wants to go to a team where he'll be an everyday player.

Boone hit .331 in 2001 with 37 home runs and 141 RBI. He finished third in the AL MVP vote behind Oakland's Jason Giambi and the winner, teammate Ichiro Suzuki.

"I'm very disappointed on how I've played to this point," Boone said. "Sometimes change is good. It lights a spark and you get back to being more like your self. It's just time."

* SLIM AND NONE: The Yankees needed 80 games to win with three or fewer runs, the longest into a season in franchise history. . . . Mariano Rivera extended his major league-best scoreless streak to 22 innings over 21 appearances.

* SHIN MUSIC: Oakland RF Bobby Kielty's sixth-inning single hit 2B umpire Paul Emmel squarely in the shin, despite Emmel's best efforts to get out of the way.

* SWEPT OVER: The Devil Rays have been swept 10 times this season and in two of their last three series.

-- From News Services

"Sometimes change is good. It lights a spark and you get back to being more like your self," said second baseman Bret Boone.