PEORIA, Ill. (AP) – Chicago Cubs shortstop Nomar Garciaparra on Tuesday pushed his first rehabilitation outing back a day, preferring to test his surgically repaired groin in consecutive games.

“It’s just another hurdle I’m trying to go over,” Garciaparra said. “Worse case scenario, it could tell me no, you still need time,”

The five-time All-Star was scheduled to start for Class-A Peoria on Tuesday, but decided to wait, Peoria Chiefs’ spokesman Nathan Baliva said.

The game Tuesday was eventually postponed by rain and rescheduled as a doubleheader Wednesday. Garciaparra will play in one of those games and also plans to play Thursday.

He will then meet with Chicago Cubs officials Friday to evaluate his rehab.

Garciaparra said he doesn’t want to come back if he can’t play nearly every day.

“That’s not going to help anything – myself, the team or anybody,” he said.

Garciaparra was batting .157 with no home runs and four RBIs in 14 games when he slipped running out of the batters’ box at St. Louis in late April.

He had surgery to repair a ruptured tendon in his left groin. He’s been doing rehab at the Cubs’ minor league complex in Arizona.

Garciaparra, who turned 32 on Saturday, is a career .320 hitter over 10 major league seasons. He spent nearly nine years with the Boston Red Sox, where he was American League rookie of the year in 1997, before being acquired by the Cubs last season.

In Garciaparra’s absence, Neifi Perez has played well for the Cubs. He had a game-winning grand slam Sunday night at St. Louis and a tying bases-loaded single in a 3-2 win over the Giants on Monday.

“Neifi’s been doing an unbelievable job, so there’s no hole there,” Garciaparra said.

Manager Dusty Baker has said he wants Garciaparra back at full strength. But Baker said the shortstop has made giant steps in his rehabilitation.

AP-ES-07-26-05 2128EDT


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