posted on Mar, 28 2004 @ 09:55 AM
Boston Red Sox shortstop Nomar Garciaparra will probably not be ready for Opening Day because of inflammation in his right Achilles tendon.
"I think it's more unlikely as time goes on," team doctor Bill Morgan said Saturday. "We wouldn't rule it out, though."
Garciaparra was injured three weeks ago when he was hit in the right heel by a ball during batting practice. He has not played since March 17, going
hitless in eight at-bats in four games this spring.
Garciaparra took about 20 swings in the batting cage before Saturday's game against Philadelphia, then took about 20 grounders at short. He said he
was not thinking far enough ahead to consider whether he will miss the opener.
"I'm definitely going to be out a few more days. I'm still optimistic, though," he said. "We're trying to knock it out now so it doesn't come
Manager Terry Francona said Garciaparra would not play in the April 4 opener against Baltimore if he were unable to first face live pitching. Asked
whether Garciaparra could play an exhibition game in Atlanta on Friday, Morgan said, "He won't be playing Friday."
"We're probably talking about another week before Nomar will be back playing," Morgan said. "We're being very careful. If it were September, quite
frankly, he would be playing."
Tests on Garciaparra's leg have shown no major damage. Morgan and Garciaparra both said there is no similarity to the wrist injury that required
surgery on Opening Day in 2001 and hampered him for the next two seasons.
Garciaparra is entering his ninth major league season, all with Boston, with a .323 career average and two AL batting titles. He is eligible to become
a free agent after the season, which is one reason why the Red Sox tried to acquire Alex Rodriguez and trade Garciaparra over the winter.
With Garciaparra out, the Red Sox have been using second baseman Pokey Reese at short and Mark Bellhorn at second.
In other injury news, Morgan said right fielder Trot Nixon will go to a rehabilitation center in Miami to recover from a herniated disk. Nixon will
stay there for two weeks and; in the second week he can begin baseball activity such as light throwing and swinging a bat.
Even after he recovers, Nixon will have to avoid sitting for extended periods.
"I think that would be a lifelong recommendation, really, for anybody with a spine problem," Morgan said.