Garciaparra dropped in order prior to injury

Updated: April 21, 2005, 12:05 AM ET
Associated Press

ST. LOUIS -- Nomar Garciaparra of the Chicago Cubs was carried off the field with a groin injury after grounding into a double play and then collapsing just in front of the batter's box in the third inning of Wednesday night's game against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Nomar Garciaparra
Chicago Cubs
14 0 4 6 0 .163

The slumping Garciaparra, hitting .157 after going 0-for-2 with a strikeout, took a few steps toward first base before falling. The team said the severity of the injury to Garciaparra's left groin was unclear and said he likely would undergo an MRI exam on Thursday.

Jerry Hairston replaced Garciaparra in the lineup, playing second base with Neifi Perez moving from second to shortstop.

Garciaparra's slump landed him in the sixth spot in the Cubs' lineup. He'd batted third all season but is in a 4-for-23 skid and has four RBIs this season.

He volunteered to move down in the order if it would help the team.

"I'm not going to be upset about it," Garciaparra said before the game. "I'm just struggling a little bit, just off. That's the nature of the game and I'll just keep working through it."

Derrek Lee, batting .385 with a team-leading four home runs and 17 RBIs, switched places with Garciaparra in the lineup. Manager Dusty Baker thought it was best not to tinker with the rest of the order.

"He said, "I'm not helping us now,"' Baker said. "He just wants to win and I know he feels bad about not contributing. He hasn't struggled this much in a long time."

Baker said it's likely only a minor alteration is needed for Garciaparra to bust out of his slump.

"It's usually something small," the manager said. "But we haven't been around him long enough to know what it is."

Earlier in the week, the Cubs tried giving Garciaparra some rest. But after a day off he was 0-for-5 without hitting the ball out of the infield on Tuesday at Cincinnati.

Lee was 14-for-32 in his previous nine games, plus he batted .420 against the Cardinals last year with five homers and 16 RBIs in 69 at-bats.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press