Bret Boone, a three-time all-star second baseman, was acquired by the Minnesota Twins yesterday -- eight days after being dumped by the Seattle Mariners.

"I'm not saying that Bret Boone is going to be a savior, but he might be a guy that can help," Twins GM Terry Ryan said. "There's a lot at stake for him, obviously."

The Mariners had designated the 36-year-old Boone for assignment, which meant they had 10 days to trade him before he became a free agent. They will pay the balance of his $9.25 million salary, minus the prorated portion of the major league minimum salary (approximately half of $316,000) that the Twins will pick up. Minnesota also is on the hook for a player to be named.

The Mariners' decision to get rid of him stung, bringing him to tears after finding out July 3. But with the Twins, Boone will see significant playing time and get to be part of a pennant race again.

Boone, a 12-year veteran with 252 homers and a .266 average for his career, is with his fifth team. He'll join Minnesota on Thursday for a four-game home series against the Angels.

* TEENAGE METS: The New York Mets have signed a 16-year-old outfielder in one of the richest deals for a prospect from the Dominican Republic.

Fernando Martinez got a $1.4 million contract last week, even though he can't play in the United States until he turns 18.

"I didn't expect something of this size," Martinez, who bats left-handed and throws right-handed, said Saturday at his home in Rio San Juan.

Even with his lucrative deal, Martinez said he wants to attend college and study business administration. The Mets included $100,000 to pay for his studies as part of the package.

The Mets announced they also signed 16-year-old RHP Deolis Guerra of Venezuela.

* BROWN, WRIGHT THROW: New York Yankees RHP Kevin Brown threw off a mound yesterday for the first time since being sidelined by a back injury last month. The Yankees are hopeful Brown could rejoin the rotation next week. . . .

Yankees RHP Jaret Wright said he felt good after his third mound session in the past week. . . .

New York also released LHP Mike Stanton, who was designated for assignment last week.

* NEW DEVIL RAY: Former Chicago Cubs reliever Joe Borowski agreed to a deal with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and will join the last-place team after the all-star break.

-- From News Services

Bret Boone cried at last week's news conference announcing Seattle had designated him for assignment. Yesterday, he was traded to the Minnesota Twins.