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Shortstop engaged in prior commitment

Red Sox CEO Larry Lucchino commented yesterday on the status of contract talks with shortstop Nomar Garciaparra, who is going into the final year of his pact.

"Nomar is getting married and we're sending him a wedding gift," Lucchino said. "We've got to find out where Nomar is registered. We're working on that. Out of respect for the nuptials, there haven't been any contract discussions, although we did have a conversation with his agent [Arn Tellem] a couple of weeks ago."

Would the Sox consider starting the season with Garciaparra's contract status unchanged?

"That's possible. It's not necessarily desirable, but certainly the possibility exists. Like I always say, it takes two to tango. There's uncertainty in the marketplace. We'll know a little more about it when a few free agents sign. Like [Miguel] Tejada."

Any concern that Garciaparra might be miffed by rumors of the Sox acquiring Alex Rodriguez?

"If those stories were emanating from our place, you could see where human beings could be affected by that," Lucchino said. "But it has not been emanating from us."

Does he think the Garciaparra camp is shrewd enough to make the above distinction?

"I would hope so," he said. "Nomar's allegedly been going to the West Coast all along. We've heard that since the day we arrived here, but we don't have to let that affect our ability to sign him. This is just the business we've chosen."

DAN SHAUGHNESSY

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