CHICAGO – Cubs infielder Nomar Garciaparra knows how to make a splash off the field as well as on it.

He and his uncle, Victor Garciaparra, apparently helped rescue two women who had fallen into Boston Harbor on Friday night in Charlestown, Mass.

“That water was pretty cold,” Victor Garciaparra said by phone Wednesday night. “But I think the adrenaline was really pumping in both of us.”

Victor Garciaparra, 36, who oversees his nephew’s business and charity ventures and shares a condo with him in Charlestown, said they were cleaning and painting the condo about 10 p.m. Friday when they heard people laughing below.

“Then we heard a splash, and it sounded kind of close,” Victor said. “We looked down and saw someone in the water, and so Nomar started running down.”

Victor said he was trailing Nomar when he saw the other woman fall in, apparently hitting her head.

“When she fell, it was about a 12- or 15-foot drop, and I thought she had hit the deck of the pier, so I jumped off a balcony,” he said. “I figured she was probably unconscious.”

By the time Victor Garciaparra got close to the second woman, he said he reached out for her only to find Nomar already in the water with both women in his arms.

Victor said Nomar swam with them several feet to the edge of the river before the men pulled them onto the deck.

“They were kind of combative at first,” Victor said. “I think they were in shock from the fall, and one of them had a bump on her head. But then when we pulled them up, the one girl recognized Nomar and says, “Are you Nomar?’

“He didn’t respond to her, and she asked about three times, “Are you Nomar? Are you Nomar?’ Finally he said to her, “I think you hit your head pretty hard,’ and that was about it.”

Victor said the women’s husbands quickly came and took them to the hospital before they could find out their names. The Boston Herald interviewed a witness, Johnny O’Hara of Natick, Mass., who said he saw the incident from a nearby boat.

“A bunch of us came running over and, sure enough, pulling the two girls from the water was Nomar,” O’Hara told the Herald. “It was crazy. Nomar was like jumping over walls to get to the girls, and the other guy leaped off the balcony. It was unbelievable.”

Nomar Garciaparra flew back to his home in California shortly after the incident became public. Efforts to reach him were unsuccessful.

Does this mean Boston Red Sox fans will be clamoring for Garciaparra to return to his former team?

“Maybe,” Victor said with a laugh. “But really, I have no idea.”

Garciaparra is a free agent this off-season. Speculation has been that the Cubs won’t re-sign him, preferring rookie Ronny Cedeno or a free agent such as Atlanta’s Rafael Furcal.

(c) 2005, Chicago Tribune.

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Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services.

AP-NY-10-12-05 2214EDT

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