Phillies looking at Nomar Garciaparra

Nomar Garciaparra : The Dodgers are also interested.
Nomar Garciaparra : The Dodgers are also interested.

Hoping to add a strong righthanded bat, the team has an interest in signing Nomar Garciaparra.

Posted: January 21, 2009

There has been so much focus in recent days on money and the Phillies' efforts to sign core talent to new contracts that it's easy to forget the team still is looking for a piece or two as it prepares to defend its World Series title.

Tops on general manager Ruben Amaro Jr.'s list is a righthanded bat to come off the bench.

Amaro would like to sign veteran infielder Nomar Garciaparra, but the former two-time American League batting champion has not decided whether he wants to continue his career or retire.

"We'd like to bring him to camp," Amaro said during a media availability at Citizens Bank Park yesterday. "It's a matter of whether he's interested."

Agent Arn Tellem said Garciaparra still was "considering all his options."

Garciaparra, 35, hit .264 with eight home runs and 28 RBIs in 55 games for the Los Angeles Dodgers last season. He has been hampered by injuries the last two seasons.

"A righthanded bat would help," manager Charlie Manuel said. "We definitely could use one."

The Dodgers are interested in re-signing Garciaparra.

Amaro said he wasn't expecting an answer from Garciaparra until closer to spring training, which begins Feb. 14 for pitchers and catchers.

In addition to a righthanded bat, Amaro remains on the lookout for a reliever.

"Do we think it's a need? No," he said. "Would we like to add one? Yes."

Madson's deal official. The Phils announced reliever Ryan Madson's three-year, $12 million contract extension yesterday.

Contrary to a national report, Madson said he never rejected a Phillies offer.

"I didn't turn down anything," he said. "We just didn't get anything finalized."

Madson, who serves as Brad Lidge's primary set-up man, will make $2 million, plus a $1 million signing bonus, in 2009. He will make $4.5 million in 2010 and in 2011. The deal includes an incentives package.

Madson could have been eligible for free agency after the 2009 season, and agent Scott Boras projected that the righthander may have been able to get closer's money on the open market.

"Scott gave me all the information, everything I could possibly have been looking at," Madson said. "But he always made it clear that I had to do what was best for me and my family. Security was a big factor for me, and Scott went and got the deal."

Utley update. Second baseman Chase Utley, who underwent hip surgery in November, is about to start running on an underwater treadmill. Initial estimates had him out of the lineup until late May or early June. Utley is ahead of schedule and says opening day is his goal. He will report to Clearwater, Fla., early next month and continue his rehabilitation.

Despite Utley's hopes of being ready for opening day, the Phillies will exercise caution in bringing him back.

"The goal is to have him 100 percent for the long haul," Amaro said.


Contact staff writer Jim Salisbury at 215-854-4983 or jsalisbury@phillynews.com.

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