Sunday, February 29, 2004

Garciaparra still reeling from offseason fiasco


Boston's failed bid to land A-Rod damages relations with Nomar

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JUPITER, Fla. - The Yankees got their third baseman, and the Rangers unloaded a burdensome contract.

The trade that sent reigning American League MVP shortstop Alex Rodriguez to New York and All-Star second baseman Alfonso Soriano to Texas worked for both sides.

But in Red Sox-land, where a potential deal involving Rodriguez dominated headlines in December yet never materialized, there remain bruised feelings.

"Was I stunned?" Boston shortstop Nomar Garciaparra said Tuesday. "Of course."

Garciaparra was one of six players mentioned in the three-way trade struck down when the Red Sox, Rangers and Players Association couldn't agree on the restructuring of Rodriguez's contract.

"I probably feel like anyone else would who spent their whole career in one organization and had to find out you'd been traded, or pretty much gone, over the television," said Garciaparra, who is entering the final season of his seven year, $44.25-million contract and said the offseason activity won't be a distraction this year.

The Red Sox offered him a four-year contract last March, but Garciaparra declined and countered, at which point negotiations stalled. The sides have since renewed discussions.

TEAM PLAYER: Rodriguez's departure left the Rangers with a potential position overcrowding at second base.

Michael Young, who started 158 games at second base last season, diffused any controversy by accepting a move to shortstop.

"Rather than dragging it out, let's get it over with so I can mentally prepare myself to play shortstop," Young said. "That was where everything was headed in the first place."

EMOTIONAL TIMES: From accusations of steroid use to BALCO and the continued emotions from his father's death in August, Barry Bonds' offseason left him contemplating retirement.

The Giants outfielder leaned on his mother and godfather, Willie Mays, and reported to his 19th spring training on Monday.

"I spent a lot of time with Willie to overcome the difficulties of losing my father," said Bonds, whose 658 career home runs are fourth all-time and two shy of Mays for third.

"I wanted to sit down and talk to him about what this (mark) really means and what I'm accomplishing here. I wanted to sit down with the man who has done it, my icon and idol, make sure we're together on this and we're a family on this and we're going to stay a family regardless of whether I pass him or not."

MOVED ASIDE: During a Feb.20 appearance in Lakeland, Fla., Pete Rose said he believed baseball's steroids issues had affected his bid for reinstatement.

"That's all right," he said. "I've waited 14 years. Why can't I wait longer?

He continued: "My nickname is Backburner Rose. Every time something comes up, they put me on the back burner. I understand."

WHAT IF? The Orioles are moving their radio broadcasters, Jim Hunter and Fred Manfra, into the television booth, and have hired Joe Angel as the team's lead radio broadcaster. Steve Stewart, hired earlier this month to succeed Joe Nuxhall in the Reds radio booth, worked 20-30 Orioles games with Hunter and Manfra before accepting the Reds job.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "We now have genuine, authentic, actual ballplayers. Not no fake, imitation, B-rated (stuff)." - Tigers outfielder Dmitri Young.

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This report was compiled using notes submitted by MLB beat writers.




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Bengals' free agents
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REDS / BASEBALL
Nomad hoping he's finally found home
Reds e-mail Q&A
Cubs line up aces for Reds
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Kelly: Garciaparra still reeling from offseason fiasco
Boone vows he'll return this season
'Special' baseball records clouded by suspicion
Cubs give Lee 3-year contract

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Bearcats back on top in C-USA
Smaller rotation pays big dividends
Musketeers finally fall off tightrope, derailing hopes
NCAA hopes dealt blow
Kentucky, LSU heading in opposite directions
RedHawks hit pothole in quest for No. 3 seed
Top 25: Stanford, St. Joe's stay the course
Creager's 22 points lead NKU women

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SUNDAY PAGE TWO
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A quick chat with ... Scott Smith
All thumbs
Planning ahead
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