BOSTON -- Did former Red Sox shortstop Nomar Garciaparra
injure his right Achilles tendon when struck by a ball in batting
practice before an exhibition game in Florida, or was he injured
before spring training?
Garciaparra has never changed his story about injuring the
ankle at City of Palms Park in Fort Myers, Fla., before the game
against Northeastern University on March 5.
However, The Boston Globe,
citing two sources familiar with Garciaparra's case, reported
Thursday that the infielder told a different story to Red Sox
officials, who never contradicted his public story. One source said
he was told that Garciaparra was injured before spring training.
Garciaparra's agent, Arn Tellem, called the assertion
"absolutely, positively [expletive]. Totally, unequivocally,
Garciaparra himself told the Associated Press Thursday, "I've heard so much made up about me, I don't even want to comment." Speaking before the Cubs' game at Colorado, he said, "I've addressed all those things.
I'm here now, and that's all I'm focused on."
The AP reported that Garciaparra seems happy in his new situation, noting he's light on his feet as he walks through the clubhouse, pats
teammates on the back in passing and smiles and greets reporters.
If Garciaparra did indeed give conflicting reasons for his injury, The Globe did not say why he would have done so. However, the Globe notes that as a free agent this offseason his value might be diminished if he was thought to have a cronic condition and not an injury caused by a specific incident. Another reason, according to the Globe, might be that he wanted to avoid questions about his rigorous offseason conditioning program.
Why the Red Sox, who traded the five-time All Star to the Chicago Cubs Saturday, would go along with such a story was not explained.
Red Sox manager Terry Francona and general manager Theo Epstein
declined to comment on the Globe's report Wednesday night, saying
the Red Sox had agreed the night before with Tellem to halt a
public dispute that centered on Garciaparra's physical condition,
and why he and the team could not come to a contract agreement to
keep him in Boston.
Epstein earlier had said he traded Garciaparra after the
shortstop said he probably would miss significant playing time this
month because of the injury. The day after the trade, Garciaparra
denied saying that, and repeated his denials to Chicago reporters
in Colorado this week where the Cubs played the Rockies.
Garciaparra played the first game of the exhibition season
against the Twins March 4 before he said he was struck by the ball
the next day. He returned to action March 9 against the Reds and
played again March 11 against the Orioles. Then he sat out until
March 17, when he played his final exhibition game against the
The Red Sox put him on the 15-day disabled list March 31. He
returned to action June 9, but continued to report lingering
problems with the tendon, sitting out games periodically because of soreness.
One game he sat out, Boston's 13-inning loss to the Yankees on July 1, in particular, drew notice. He remained seated even as his teammates were on the dugout steps watching the action, which fans and media cited as an indication Garciaparra was unhappy.
In Colorado with the Cubs Wednesday, Nomar explained why he didn't get up.
"My teammates told me to go sit down in a specific spot so we can go score some runs," he said, according to the Globe. "Then I heard I'm unhappy there and I wanted out. I was like, 'Man, if I wanted out, why did my wife and I buy a new home [in Boston] in the offseason?' I don't know where it comes from."
Before the trade, Epstein said he shared all of Garciaparra's
medical information with Cubs GM Jim Hendry, who said he was
satisfied the Red Sox had given him all relevant information.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.