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03/18/09 10:42 AM ET

Heart condition ends Boone's season

Veteran infielder will have surgery, calls it 'not an emergency'

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Veteran infielder Aaron Boone has a heart condition that will require surgery, effectively ending his year with the Astros.

"I have been diagnosed as having a heart condition involving the aorta and aortic valve," Boone said, flanked by nearly the entire Astros team at a Wednesday morning press conference in a meeting room at the Osceola County Stadium complex.

Boone will have surgery to have the valve replaced. He has had this condition since college. He'll schedule the surgery this week. He categorized it as "not an emergency situation."

"Initially, my doctors thought I could delay corrective surgery for some time, but because of some variations in my condition, they are now advising me to deal with the problem sooner rather than later," Boone said. "Am I going to recover well enough to play baseball again? Probably. Will I play baseball again? I don't know at this time. We'll cross that bridge when we get there."

Boone described his condition as "asymptomatic ... I've known about this since college, and I've always been asymptomatic. I kind of do my due diligence as far as getting my testing done yearly or whatever. I feel fine."

Boone sounded as if he was in high spirits, even making a joke that the surgery is apparently "prophylactic."

"I always thought that meant something else," he said, drawing laughs. "Apparently, that means 'not urgent.' It means we need to schedule it, but not next week."

"It definitely hits home, but I'm doing well with it," Boone continued. "I'm fairly educated about it now, and I have a strong faith and a great family and friends and teammates. I really am doing well and I'm ready to tackle this thing and get it behind me and get on with life.

"I'm doing quite well, honestly."

Said general manager Ed Wade: "After a lot of discussion and consultation, Aaron is in the position now where he had to deal with this issue. As you can see by the audience here, by the number of teammates in the room, this is something we didn't want Aaron to deal with as an individual. We're standing behind him."

Boone, 36, was selected by the Reds in the third round of the 1994 First-Year Player draft. He made his big league debut in 1997 and played the next seven years with the Reds.

He was dealt to the Yankees at the Trade Deadline in 2003, and later that year swung his way into baseball history, knocking a walk-off homer against Boston's Tim Wakefield in the 11th inning of Game 7 of the American League Championship Series, sealing the pennant for the Yankees.

After missing all of 2004 with a knee injury, Boone played for the Indians in 2005 and 2006, the Marlins in '07 and the Nationals in '08.

The grandson of former Major League infielder Ray Boone, son of former catcher Bob Boone and brother of former infielder Bret Boone, Aaron has played in 1,142 career games, batting .264 with 126 home runs and 555 RBIs.

He and his wife, Laura, have one son, Brandon Aaron.

Alyson Footer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.