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Recovering Boone hopes to rejoin Astros

Boone eyes comeback to Astros

HOUSTON -- Aaron Boone was in high spirits when he returned to the Astros' clubhouse on Friday.

Over four months have passed since Boone made the announcement that he had a heart condition involving the aorta and aortic valve that required surgery, and that it would sideline him from playing baseball for what some thought would be the rest of his career.

However, the third baseman was back with the team and working out prior to the Astros' game against the Mets at Minute Maid Park in hopes of returning to the club sometime in the next two months.

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"I'm just looking forward to working out [Friday] and working out [Saturday], and trying my best to get my body ready to be back with the team down the stretch," Boone said. "I feel like I'm in pretty good shape and my strength has come back pretty good."

Boone signed with the Astros in the offseason after spending last season with the Nationals. But after early-season tests following a routine physical determined he needed surgery, he was forced to step away from the game. Boone had known about his heart condition since college, and the surgery left him with an 8-10-inch scar running vertically across his chest.

On Friday, Boone spent time in the batting cages and played catch. His attempt at a comeback has everyone in the Astros organization filled with optimism.

"It's inspiring to see he's coming back," Lance Berkman said. "He's a great guy to have around."

General manager Ed Wade agreed with Berkman and is impressed by Boone's perseverance through everything.

"Knowing the determination that Aaron has, and the fact that he's been cleared to do the things he's capable of doing at this point in time, leads me to think that we're going to see him take this thing through the finish line and see him back in our uniform, active and playing, probably in September," Wade said.

Wade said that the team would put together a rehab assignment schedule for Boone once he indicates he feels ready to get back on the field. The Astros wouldn't speculate what type of playing time he would see, but they feel he is on a track that would have him back in September.

"He's another high-quality player in the clubhouse and brings a lot of leadership ability to the team," Wade said. "That type of individual in its own is a big boost for our ballclub. He's been through pennant races, and he's been through these types of situations before."

Boone hit .241 with six home runs and 28 RBIs in 104 games with the Washington Nationals last season. He is a career .264 hitter.

Boone has been overwhelmed with the amount of support he's received from the organization, fans and his family.

"My family's excited, especially my brother and my dad," Boone said. "My wife and I just had our second baby nine days ago, so I feel a little guilty I'm up and leaving her to take care of two kids, but at least my mom and her mom are there to help. They all are supportive and behind me in this."

Jason Grodsky is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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