Boston Red Sox shortstop Nomar Garciaparra knows it's better to let his injured Achilles' tendon heal now rather than play and have the injury linger all season.
"If there was a time to take care of it, it's to take care of it now going into the season ... so it doesn't become a factor later on," he said on Friday. "I don't like to sit and watch, but at the same time I'm also focused on what I have to do. The good thing is we have a plan on what we'd like to do."
Boston opens its major league season on Sunday at Baltimore. Garciaparra already is back home in Boston to receive medical attention for his injury, expected to keep him out for at least three weeks.
The injury only hurts when he runs, he said, and he will be able to stay in shape, work out in the pool, throw and swing without aggravating the injury.
"I'm able to do other stuff to keep my body in shape ... so when the time is right to pick up my baseball activity, I'm not going to be far behind," said Garciaparra, who hit .301 last season, with 28 home runs and 105 RBIs.
With Garciaparra out of the lineup, Pokey Reese is expected to fill in at shortstop. Mark Bellhorn will play second base in place of Reese.
"I'm not concerned at all that we have some injuries, that's part of the game," Garciaparra said. "The injuries are now, we can address them, take care of them ... There is a lot of baseball to be played and you have to look at the big picture."
In Cincinnati, Ken Griffey Jr. returned home to rehab his injured right calf in preparation for the Reds' home opener Monday against the Chicago Cubs.
The center fielder was hurt on Monday when he slipped leaving the batter's box against Pittsburgh.
"He will work out with us Sunday, and from all telltale signs he should be good to go on Monday," manager Dave Miley said.
Griffey hit just .158 with one homer and five RBIs in 38 at-bats this spring.
In Surprise, Arizona, the Kansas City Royals said Curtis Leskanic will start the season as their primary closer while Mike MacDougal is on the disabled list.
MacDougal, who had 27 saves last year as a rookie, is recovering from a stomach virus that sapped his energy.
"Mac's an All-Star closer," Leskanic said. "He throws with a little bit of authority and it's not straight. He's definitely a closer-type guy. He's got the mentality."
Leskanic was 1-0 with a 1.73 ERA and two saves after Kansas City acquired him from Milwaukee on July 2. Leskanic, who turned 36 Friday, has 51 career saves and was the Brewers' closer in 2000-2001.
"Moses was the shortstop and the 12 disciples were in the dugout the last time I closed," Leskanic said, laughing.
In Tampa, Florida, the New York Yankees were back at their spring training camp, trying to shake off the jet lag a day after returning from Japan.
"I feel pretty good. Just every once in a while you find yourself yawning," manager Joe Torre said.
After splitting the two-game series against Tampa Bay in the Tokyo Dome, Torre had to set his rotation for next week, when the season resumes with another two-game series against the Devil Rays, this time across the bay in St. Petersburg.
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