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Thursday, July 1, 2004
Updated: July 2, 11:30 AM ET
Francona says shortstop just needs rest

Associated Press

NEW YORK -- After struggling at the plate and committing three errors in two games against New York, Boston Red Sox shortstop Nomar Garciaparra was out of the starting lineup and didn't play in Thursday night's 5-4 loss to the Yankees in 13 innings.

Nomar Garciaparra
Boston Red Sox
17 1 9 7 1 .235

Both Boston manager Terry Francona and Garciaparra said that the All-Star slugger felt some tightness in his right Achilles' heel, and that he was trying to warm up in the clubhouse during the extra innings.

Garciaparra strained the heel in spring training, causing him to miss the first 57 games of the season.

"He's tight back there," Francona said. "It was a tough day for him."

Garciaparra went into the clubhouse in the ninth inning, and was doing stretches to try and loosen the muscle.

"I just didn't get in," Garciaparra said. "There was a time I might get a chance, but it didn't happen."

Garciaparra is just 7-for-38 (.184) in his last nine games. He went 2-for-8 and made two crucial errors that led to four unearned runs in two losses to the AL East-leading Yankees.

Overall, Garciaparra is batting .235 with one home run and nine RBI in 17 games since coming off the disabled list June 9.

Before the game, Francona said he wanted to keep Garciparra out of the series finale for rest.

"He's played a lot," Francona said. "It's very obvious that he needs rest if he's going to go out there and be productive."

In other injury-related news, right-hander Scott Williamson went back to Boston for an MRI on his right forearm Thursday morning. He left in the seventh inning of Wednesday night's 4-2 loss with a strain.

Williamson was diagnosed with irritated nerves in his right forearm. He was given a prescription for anti-inflammatory medication, and is day-to-day.

Williamson has arguably been Boston's best reliever this season. He has one save and a 1.25 ERA in 21 games, and opponents are hitting only .097 against him.

Boston reliever Alan Embree said Thursday that he had a similar problem in his left elbow. Embree said the best treatment is to leave it alone, and let the nerves settle down.

"Basically, you need to not touch it. You need to let it rest, otherwise it will flare up," Embree said. "We need Willy back, his numbers this season are ridiculous."