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03/20/08 6:59 PM ET

Nats reassign Boone to Minors

Belliard will most likely be named starting second baseman

VIERA, Fla. -- The Nationals reassigned second baseman Bret Boone to Minor League camp on Thursday evening, and he will accept the assignment to Triple-A Columbus.

Boone's decision to play in Columbus is in sharp contrast to what he said on the day he signed his Minor League deal with Washington on Feb. 18. On that day, Boone said that he wasn't going to settle for anything less than being the Nationals' starting second baseman.

With Boone headed to Columbus, it most likely means that Ronnie Belliard will be Washington's everyday second baseman.

On Thursday, Boone said he had a change of heart, because he didn't get enough Spring Training at-bats to give him an indication that he still had what it took to be in the big leagues. Boone went 7-for-37 (.189) with two RBIs in 12 games.

The 39-year-old Boone was worried on Tuesday that he may not have anything left in the tank, but his father, Nats assistant general manager Bob Boone, put it all in perspective for him that night.

"You haven't played in two years," the elder Boone said.

Prior to joining the Nationals, the last time Bret Boone played in the big leagues was with the Mets in spring 2006.

"It's not fair to me to have 37 at-bats and judge myself on that," Boone said. "This makes it a lot easier for me, because the guys who [manager Manny Acta] knows for sure are going to play need to get ready for the season. That's important to me. There are so many people right now, and I need to play every day and it makes sense for everybody."

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