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Boone appears to have passed medical tests

CLEVELAND -- Free agent third baseman Aaron Boone has
reached a tentative agreement on a two-year contract with the
Cleveland Indians, The Associated Press learned Friday.

Boone, whose 11th-inning homer in Game 7 of the ALCS last season
put the New York Yankees in the World Series, hasn't played since
injuring his left knee during a basketball game in January.

The Indians, who outbid several other teams for Boone, plan to
announce the signing this weekend if Boone passes his physical,
according to two baseball sources who spoke to the AP on the
condition of anonymity.

Indians general manager Mark Shapiro confirmed that the team was having contract talks with Boone's agent, Adam Katz.

Shapiro also said the 31-year-old infielder was in Cleveland for medical tests.

"We are in the midst of negotiations, which are progressing,"
Shapiro said before the Indians played Colorado.

Cleveland needs to make sure Boone's knee is sound before
finalizing the deal.

Apparently, Boone has been cleared by doctors. The Indians have scheduled a news conference at 4 p.m. ET on Saturday.

The club has learned not to take anything for granted when finalizing a contract. Last winter, the club came close to trading shortstop Omar Vizquel to Seattle, but the deal fell through when Vizquel failed his physical for the Mariners.

"If there's anything we should have learned in the last year is to be diligent," Shapiro said.

The GM would not comment when asked when Boone might be ready to play.

The Indians (35-37) could use Boone's bat for a playoff push.
They have won 17 of 28 since May 27 and enter the weekend six games out of first place in the AL Central.

Boone went from hero-to-goat in a New York minute.

Just two months after beating the Boston Red Sox with his homer
off Tim Wakefield, Boone tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his
knee in a pickup basketball game.

Boone's injury led the Yankees to pursue and eventually trade with Texas for reigning AL MVP Alex Rodriguez.

Boone had surgery before being released in February by the
Yankees. He agreed in December to a one-year $5.75 million deal
with New York, but the contract prohibited him from playing
basketball. So, the Yankees only had to give Boone 30 days
termination pay -- $917,553.

The Indians will benefit from Boone's versatility. He can play
third base, second base and shortstop. With Vizquel in the final
year of his contract, Boone gives Cleveland some depth and options
for 2005.

"He's a good person and a good player who can make this team
better," said third baseman Casey Blake, who may have to move to
first when Boone arrives. "I'll play wherever they want and I know
Aaron will, too."

Boone batted .254 with six homers and 31 RBI last year for New
York, which acquired him from the Reds last July for left-handers
Brandon Claussen and Charlie Manning.

Overall, Boone hit .267 with 24 homers and 96 RBI last season
and was named an NL All-Star.

Boone's grandfather, Ray, played for the Indians from 1948-53.