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DODGERS FYI

Garciaparra's injury still a puzzle

June 04, 2008|Kevin Baxter | Times Staff Writer

Injured infielder Nomar Garciaparra, who underwent a battery of tests last week, said doctors believe it's possible his frequent calf pulls could be the result of an unidentified blood-flow problem to his legs.

"They know that exists. It's just hard to pinpoint what's causing it," he said.

Manager Joe Torre said Tuesday the exams Garciaparra had were inconclusive and the Dodgers will send him back to consult with doctors again this week.

Garciaparra, who has undergone tests for compartment syndrome, a condition in which pressure within a muscle group gets too high and reduces circulation, said one reason the problem has been so tough to detect is it only seems to appear when he's performing physical activity.

"I don't have any problems when I'm at rest. It happens when I'm active," he said. "So it's tough to do a test. I can't run in an MRI.

"It's obviously something creating it while I'm running."

Garciaparra, who sat out three weeks because of a strained left calf last summer, went on the disabled list April 26 with another strain in the same area. And while he doesn't consider the situation career-threatening, until doctors find the reason for the problem the six-time All-Star said they have no idea how to treat it.

"It could be something that I might take care of in the off-season," he said. "Or if it's gotten so bad . . . I have to take care of it now."

Since signing with the Dodgers before the 2006 season Garciaparra, 34, has spent about a quarter of his time -- 107 days -- on the disabled list because of a strained rib muscle, a sprained knee, two calf strains and a fractured thumb.

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Russell Martin, chosen by the fans to be the National League's starting catcher in last summer's All-Star game, ranks a distant fourth in the second week of voting this year.

Chicago Cubs rookie Geovany Soto leads all catchers in the balloting with nearly 600,000 votes, more than twice as many as Martin.

No other Dodger ranks in the top five in voting at his position. Philadelphia second baseman Chase Utley has the most votes of any NL player with 847,628. Balloting closes at 8:59 p.m. Pacific time on July 2.

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Martin, a native of Quebec, was presented with the 2007 Tip O'Neill Award in a pregame ceremony Tuesday. The honor, presented by the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame, recognizes players who "excelled in individual achievement and team contribution while adhering to the highest ideals of the game of baseball."

The award is named for Canadian Hall of Famer James "Tip" O'Neill, a 19th century major leaguer, and not the former U.S. politician of the same name. Previous winners include former Dodger Eric Gagne and former Colorado slugger Larry Walker, who won it a record nine times.

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Right-hander Jason Schmidt has a bruise on his leg where he was hit with a comebacker in his last rehab start Saturday. That is expected to delay his next minor league outing until early next week. . . . With the Dodgers playing a day game after a night game today, second baseman Jeff Kent is expected to get the day off.

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kevin.baxter@latimes.com

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