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Nixon: Herniated disk; Garciaparra: Achilles tendinitis

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Boston's Trot Nixon will be sidelined
until May with a back injury and Red Sox teammate Nomar Garciaparra
could miss opening day because of a foot problem.

Nixon has a mildly herniated disc in his back. He has not played
at all this spring.

Garciaparra had an MRI exam that showed mild tendinitis in his
right Achilles tendon.

The Red Sox hope Garciaparra can play in a game in two weeks,
coming very close to Boston's opening game in Baltimore on April 4.
General manager Theo Epstein was optimistic after tests indicated
both should fully recover.

"Nomar will be back by opening day and Trot will be back some
time in early May and we can withstand that," Epstein said.
"They're both being treated conservatively."

Manager Terry Francona plans to move first baseman Kevin Millar
to right field and second baseman Pokey Reese to shortstop until
Nixon and Garciaparra return.

David Ortiz, Boston's designated hitter, figures to see more
time at first base, and Gabe Kapler will play right field when
Millar is at first. Mark Bellhorn is the primary backup infielder.

Nixon should be ready to play in a major league game in six
weeks.

Epstein said the team prefers to fill Garciaparra's and Nixon's
spots from within its organization, but that the club was
"intensely monitoring" the other major league camps.

Nixon was examined Thursday in Los Angeles by Dr. Robert
Watkins, and Garciaparra was checked out in Fort Myers.

Francona said Nixon is "somebody we're relying on a lot."

"But we can't let this or frankly anything else stop what we're
trying to do," Francona said before Friday's game against
Pittsburgh.

Nixon, who was not at the ballpark Friday, has said the injury
didn't result from one incident but appeared to build gradually.

Garciaparra had a removable boot on his right foot Friday that
ended about six inches. The device immobilizes the area.

"I still plan on being there opening day," he said. "The good
thing is it's happening now and not in the middle of the season."

The MRI showed no injury to the tendon or the bone, but the
inflammation is in an area that is slow to heal, Garciaparra said.

"The problem with that area is there's not a whole lot of space
between your tendon and your skin," he said. "There's not a whole
lot of blood flow in there."

Garciaparra is 0-for-8 in spring training. He went 0-for-2 with
a walk in the last game he played on Wednesday, a 3-1 win over
Cleveland.

"It was feeling all right and it obviously showed that it
wasn't ready," he said. "It just got aggravated even more."

The Red Sox had a fairly healthy group of players last year,
when only one position player, Jeremy Giambi, spent time on the
disabled list.

Nixon played 134 games but missed 13 of the last 18 with a
strained left calf. He hit .306 with 28 homers and 87 RBIs.

Garciaparra played in 156 games in each of the last two seasons,
but slumped at the end of last season, hitting .170 in September.
He finished at .301 overall with 28 homers and 105 RBIs.

Garciaparra, eligible for free agency after this season, nearly
was traded in the offseason when Boston tried to get shortstop Alex
Rodriguez. But Rodriguez eventually was traded from Texas to the
New York Yankees.