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Thursday, December 6, 2007
Nats add Boone, avoid arbitration with Pena, Langerhans

Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Backup infielder Aaron Boone agreed to a one-year, $1 million contract Thursday with the Washington Nationals, who also avoided arbitration with outfielders Wily Mo Pena and Ryan Langerhans.

Pena agreed to a deal that would pay him $4 million over two years if he picks up a mutual option for 2009, or $7 million if the team exercises its option. Langerhans would earn $500,000 if he's in the majors next season and $300,000 in the minors.

The 34-year-old Boone gives the Nationals an experienced backup at first, second and third base and a clubhouse leader who could help mentor the team's young players.

"That's very important for the leadership of our club," manager Manny Acta said before leaving the winter meetings at the Opryland Hotel.

Boone is a career .265 hitter with 120 home runs, 527 RBIs and 107 stolen bases over 10 seasons. He was an NL All-Star with Cincinnati in 2003, when he batted a combined .267 with 24 home runs, 96 RBIs and 23 stolen bases for the Reds and Yankees.

Boone's 11th-inning homer against Boston in Game 7 won the 2003 AL Championship Series for New York. But the next winter he blew out his left knee playing basketball and missed the entire '04 season.

He spent two years with Cleveland and this season hit .286 with five homers and 28 RBIs in 69 games for the Florida Marlins before going on the disabled list June 25 and having season-ending arthroscopic surgery on the same knee.

"The reports we have is that he's 100 percent back from his knee surgery," Acta said.

Pena batted .293 with eight homers and 22 RBIs in 37 games for Washington after joining the team in an Aug. 17 trade with the Red Sox. The Nationals averaged 3.9 runs per game before he arrived and 5 per game afterward.

"I don't think we had anybody intimidating in our lineup" before Pena was acquired, Acta said.

Langerhans, 27, combined for six home runs and 23 RBIs in 125 big league games with Washington, Oakland and Atlanta this season.