Originally created 04/01/04

Injured Achilles' tendon forces Garciaparra to sit

FORT MYERS, Fla. - Red Sox shortstop Nomar Garciaparra will start the season on the disabled list with an injured right Achilles' tendon and is expected to be out at least three weeks.

The All-Star slugger said Wednesday that doctors told him to rest. Pokey Reese will be at shortstop when Boston opens the regular season Sunday in Baltimore, and Mark Bellhorn will fill in at second base.

"I don't like missing more time than I anticipated, but the good thing is we know we have a structured program to be able to talk to all the doctors and get everyone on the same page," Garciaparra said after the team placed him on the disabled list.

"My body will tell me when I'm ready. Once that happens it shouldn't take me long to get back in the lineup," he said.

Garciaparra was examined Wednesday by Mark Slovenkai, an ankle and foot specialist from New England Baptist Hospital.

No structural damage was found in the tendon, but the injury was diagnosed as a bruise in the cartilage that covers the tendon. The only treatment is rest.

Garciaparra was injured March 5 when he was hit by a ball during batting practice. He has been limited to just eight at-bats in spring training.

He is the second Red Sox starter to go down this spring. Right fielder Trot Nixon is expected to be out until early May with a back problem.

General manager Theo Epstein doesn't plan to trade for temporary replacements. With Garciaparra out, David Ortiz will bat cleanup in Boston's lineup.

ROYALS' PAIN: Kansas City closer Mike MacDougal will begin the season on the disabled list, along with four Royals starting pitchers.

MacDougal, who saved 27 games as a rookie last year, has not pitched since March 13 because of a stomach virus that caused him to lose five pounds and drained his strength.

Also opening the season on the disabled list will be right-handed starters Miguel Asencio, Runelvys Hernandez and Kevin Appier, who all had elbow surgery, and Kyle Snyder, who had shoulder surgery. Appier will probably be activated in mid-April, while the other three are out for the season.

ROCKIES: Colorado released infielder Benji Gil on Wednesday.

A non-roster invitee to spring training, Gil batted .263 (10-for-38) with one homer and nine RBI in 16 exhibition games.

He requested his unconditional release when he was told he could not be guaranteed regular playing time with Triple-A Colorado Springs.

MARLINS: Outfielder Brian Banks was released by Florida, two days before he was scheduled to have right knee surgery.

Banks was hurt early in spring training but kept playing because he didn't think it was serious. The pain persisted more than two weeks before tests Monday revealed bone fragments and a team doctor determined Banks needed surgery.


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