March 20, 2004

Let's Start With The Good News. Nomar Garciaparra says he'll "be out at least another week [but] I still plan to be there for opening day." He'll wear an immobilizing boot for the next week and will take about another week to get back into game shape. Opening Day is 16 days away.

Trot Nixon will miss approximately 6 weeks with a mildly herniated disk. Theo Epstein said the six-week plan is "a very conservative treatment." Most of Nixon's ABs will go to Gabe Kapler and Ellis Burks. Kapler played 30 games in RF last season and is hitting .344 (11-32) this spring. ... Terry Francona said Kevin Millar could also see time in right, though probably not in Fenway's vast meadow. Manny Ramirez will remain in left.

Pedro Martinez worked on his mechanics and fastball (which was in the 86-91 range) in the early innings Friday afternoon. "The first two innings, I was a little flat. ... I was still pulling the ball to right-handed hitters. But after a couple of innings, I got better." Martinez struck out his last four batters. "From now on, I start pitching ... like it's the season and get ready for the first outing. In the last inning, I tried to pitch like it was a regular-season game, and just use all my pitches, mix them all, and use my experience." (Also here)

Pedro ended his Q&A session abruptly: "Asked about his spring training preparation, Martinez said, 'To me, once I step in the white lines, it's a game. At the same time, it's spring training, same routine, same - I'm actually tired of talking to you guys, right now. I'm bored.' He got up and was asked how his boredom could be alleviated. 'Just let me go, thank you.'" ... Pedro has two more spring starts: Thursday against Minnesota and March 30 against Toronto. That will give him five days rest before Opening Night.

Also: Byung-Hyun Kim's shoulder will be re-examined today. ... Ramiro Mendoza threw 35 pitches of live BP and may pitch in a game either Monday or Tuesday. ... Pokey Reese and Mark Bellhorn were sent home with flu symptoms and Johnny Damon had a personal day. ... Cesar Crespo is still smoking (.464 BA, .581 OBP). ... Moves: OF Jeremy Owens and C Kelly Shoppach reassigned to minor-league camp; RHP Edwin Almonte, LHP Phil Seibel and 3B Kevin Youkilis optioned to Pawtucket; RHP Jerome Gamble optioned to Portland; LHP Nick Bierbrodt sent outright to Pawtucket.

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