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By Paul Sullivan
Tribune staff reporter
August 23, 2004, 11:09 PM CDT
Nomar Garciaparra's left wrist became a cause of concern Monday when it was revealed he strained it before Friday's game in Houston.
Garciaparra had two hits that night, including a two-run home run, but sat out Saturday's and Sunday's games with what the Cubs said was a sore Achilles' tendon. He had MRIs taken on both the wrist and Achilles' tendon on Monday, and may miss extended time if the wrist injury lingers.
"That could be a possibility," Garciaparra said. "That's something we haven't discussed or gotten into yet. Right now, we're looking at the present day and the very near future, and see how that goes. Then we'll worry about the rest when it comes."
Garciaparra said a stint on the disabled list hasn't been discussed, but the Cubs are considering it to ensure he's available for the stretch run.
"There's going to be a point where we have to make a decision," manager Dusty Baker said. "Hopefully it's a good decision."
Baker said he had wrist problems for 10 years as a player.
"I know how important they are and I know how you can reinjure them," he said. "We're hoping he'll be all right [Tuesday] with treatment."
If the Cubs backdated Garciaparra to Saturday, he would be eligible to return from the disabled list Sept. 5 in Florida. The Cubs would then bring up Neifi Perez, who signed a minor-league contract Thursday and is playing at Triple-A Iowa.
Garciaparra didn't mention the injury when talking to reporters about his Achilles' tendon in Houston after Sunday's game, and the Cubs didn't let on either.
"I did it during batting practice," he said. "I took a swing, and it was just one of those things. You're there every day—took a swing and it just felt kind of weird. I kept swinging and played that day. I thought it was just kind of something like when you get a few zings here and there, but obviously this one stayed with me. It didn't go away. I had some swelling and everything. I'm still working through it."
Garciaparra was able to take fielding and batting practice Monday, but at one point during batting practice he abruptly exited to the trainers' room to get his wrist retaped. Garciaparra has a ritual where he adjusts his batting gloves before every pitch, and he wasn't comfortable hitting with the tightly taped wrist.
"We're trying to find a comfort zone for him," trainer Dave Groeschner said. "We found a compromise."
Garciaparra played in only 21 games with the Red Sox in 2001 after surgery in April on his right wrist. He came back to hit .310 in 2002 with 24 homers, 56 doubles and 120 RBIs. Garciaparra downplayed the dueling injuries Monday.
"Guys have injuries, especially this late in the season," he said. "You try to go out there and perform the way you can and go out and help the team the best you can."
The MRI revealed no further damage to the Achilles' tendon, which has been a problem for Garciaparra since spring training, forcing him to miss 57 games with Boston. Garciaparra said his Achilles' "hasn't gotten worse," but is sore on occasion.
"Like I said from Day 1, you're going to have some days [of soreness] here and there," he said. "I had a day off on Saturday and was ready to go, and now this (wrist injury). It just kind of piles on."
Cubs general manager Jim Hendry knows the feeling. Garciaparra is the latest Cubs star to suffer through an injury this season, joining Mark Grudzielanek (Achilles' tendon), Sammy Sosa (back), Mark Prior (Achilles' tendon and elbow), Kerry Wood (triceps), Aramis Ramirez (groin), Joe Borowski (shoulder) and Todd Hollandsworth (shin). All but Ramirez spent time on the DL.
The Cubs have placed 14 players on the DL this year, including Mike Remlinger twice.
Hollandsworth had his cast removed Monday from a stress fracture in his right leg, and he hopes to be ready to play by the time rosters expand on Sept. 1. It's not likely he can return in nine days, but if Hollandsworth is on the disabled list Sept. 1, he's still eligible to be placed on a postseason roster if he's able to return at all, and the Cubs win the wild-card spot. Hollandsworth believes a Sept. 1 return is a distinct possibility.
"I don't see why not," he said. "I might be overly optimistic, but that's how I am."
Copyright © 2004, The Chicago Tribune
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