Last weekend, Aaron Boone was playing for his father. Now, he’s playing for George Steinbrenner.
The New York Yankees’ newest acquisition will join the team when the American League leaders open a pivotal weekend series in Oakland against the surging Athletics.
The Yankees acquired Boone before Thursday’s non-waiver trade deadline from struggling Cincinnati for minor league left-handers Brandon Claussen, Charlie Manning and cash. They added Gabe White, a left-handed reliever, from the Reds in a separate deal for a player to be named.
Boone, an NL All-Star this season, batted .273 with 18 home runs, 65 RBIs and 15 stolen bases for Cincinnati. On Monday, the Reds began rebuilding as they fired manager Bob Boone, general manager Jim Bowden and two coaches. The next day they began trading players.
“I come to play, I play hard and I leave it all out there. That’s what I’ll continue to do,” Boone said. “That I’m sitting here as a Yankee, I’m so fired up about that.”
The Yankees head into this series fresh off a three-game sweep of the defending champion Anaheim Angels, including a 2-1 win in 10 innings on Thursday.
Boone will now get a firsthand look at possibly the best pitching staff in baseball. The Athletics will throw each component of The Big Three at the Yankees, starting Friday with right-hander Tim Hudson. Left-handers Barry Zito and Mark Mulder will follow in the weekend series.
Hudson has won three of his last four starts. He has been virtually unhittable over his last two outings, allowing one earned run and five hits in his last 16 innings, with 14 strikeouts and three walks.
He took a career-best 20-inning scoreless streak into the ninth inning Sunday before giving up a home run to Anaheim’s Adam Kennedy, but pitched a four-hitter as the Athletics routed the Angels 10-1
“I feel like every time I pitch, I’m on a mission,” said Hudson, whose 2.60 ERA is third-best in the league. “I just try to go out there and win, put up zeros and do a good job for my teammates.”
The Athletics, who have won eight of their last 11, including a 3-1 victory over Cleveland on Thursday, will also have a new offensive player as outfielder Jose Guillen, acquired Wednesday from Cincinnati, is expected to make his Oakland debut.
STANDINGS: Yankees - 1st place, AL East. Athletics - 2nd place, 4 GB, AL West.
YANKEES PROBABLE STARTER: Mike Mussina (11-6, 3.38 ERA). The right-hander has allowed at least four earned runs in three of his last five starts, winning just once since June 26. He did not receive a decision on Saturday against Boston after allowing four earned runs and seven hits over 7 2-3 innings. The Red Sox went on to win 5-4. Mussina is 14-9 with a 4.17 ERA in 27 career starts against the Athletics.
ATHLETICS PROBABLE STARTER: Hudson (9-4, 2.60 ERA). Hudson is 1-2 with a 3.24 ERA in seven career starts against the Yankees. He has allowed just three earned runs in 16 innings against New York this season, earning a victory in Oakland’s 7-2 win on May 9.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Yankees - Derek Jeter, .324 avg.; Jason Giambi, 30 HRs and 83 RBIs; Alfonso Soriano, 78 runs and 27 SBs. Athletics - Eric Byrnes, .284 avg.; Eric Chavez, 20 HRs and 8 SBs; Miguel Tejada, 64 RBIs and 61 runs.
SEASON SERIES: Athletics, 4-2.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Yankees - LHP White, 31, was 3-0 with 3.93 ERA in 34 relief appearances. He has been on the disabled list since June 25 because of a strained left groin. The Yankees expect him to be out for about three more weeks. … The Yankees received minor league OF Bubba Crosby and RHP Scott Proctor from the Dodgers in the Ventura. Crosby was batting a Pacific Coast League-leading .361 with 12 homers and 57 RBIs for Triple-A Las Vegas. Proctor was 5-4 with a 2.58 ERA in 41 relief appearances with Double-A Jacksonville and Triple-A Las Vegas. … RHP Jeff Weaver faces LHP Zito on Saturday and LHP Andy Pettitte opposes LHP Mulder on Sunday. Athletics - RHP Hudson has had mixed results against Yankees hitters—2B Soriano is 2-for-21 (.095) and OF Bernie Williams is 2-for-17 (.118), but 1B Giambi is 5-for-13 (.385) with a home run and two RBIs, and C Jorge Posada is 5-for-16 (.313) with a homer and two RBIs. … On Thursday, for the second day in a row, a fan charged the field in the eighth inning. He was tackled by five security guards and led away in handcuffs. … SS Tejada has is hitting .421 (8-for-19) with three homers and six RBIs against RHP Mussina.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Yankees - 36-19 on the road; Athletics - 38-17 at home.
INJURIES: Yankees - RHP Jose Contreras (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Steve Karsay (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Jon Lieber (elbow), 60-day DL. Athletics - OF Jermaine Dye (shoulder), 15-day DL; LHP Micah Bowie (elbow), 15-day DL.