The shortstop signed a one-day contract with his former team Wednesday before announcing he's leaving baseball at 36 to become an ESPN analyst.
"From the first day I had the thrill of putting on a Red Sox uniform and playing in front of all the great fans at Fenway Park, I have felt at home in Boston," Garciaparra said in a statement. "While I had the privilege of playing with other legendary teams, I always saw myself retiring in a Red Sox uniform."
Garciaparra played parts of nine seasons in Boston. He was a six-time All-Star, won the 1997 American League Rookie of the Year and won batting crowns in 1999 and 2000.
He also has a place in Red Sox lore for being part of a four-team trade in 2004 that helped the club win its first World Series in 86 years. "I felt like I was there," Garciaparra said, referring to the celebration. "In Boston there's something greater than an individual player winning a World Series. When I was there I realized there's something bigger than us winning a World Series. It's winning a World Series for these people."
General manager Theo Epstein, who grew up in the Boston area, said, "We've been fortunate over the years to maintain a relationship after the trade. I think both of us understood at the time that it wasn't about Nomar and it wasn't about me. It was just baseball trades that happen. They're about what's going on with the team at the time and certain things that had to happen. But, it didn't change what Nomar meant to the Red Sox."
Garciaparra's teammates found it appropriate that he retired in a Boston uniform. "He was a Red Sox for a long time and I think he'll always be remembered as a Red Sox," said pitcher Tim Wakefield, who was Garciaparra's teammate for the shortstop's entire stay in Boston.
Garciaparra spent the past five seasons with the Cubs, Dodgers and Athletics. He had a .313 career average with 229 home runs and 936 RBIs.
"I always enjoyed playing against Boston because of Nomar," Derek Jeter said. "I used to enjoy being mentioned with him." Added Alex Rodriguez: "I love Nomar. He's a great player and a friend."
Mattingly, Dodgers talk about job
With Torre en route to Taiwan to manage a Dodgers split squad for three exhibition games, Mattingly is in charge of the team in Arizona. Torre's contract expires after this season, but the two sides are working on a one-year extension. Mattingly would then take over in 2012.
"Obviously with Joe, everything is off of him," Mattingly said. "[After] the first interview with Cleveland, talking to the Dodgers I felt like I was part of their future and they liked me. I like it here."
In his first game, however, Los Angeles batted out of order against Arizona. Andre Ethier took advantage of the mix-up, leading off the fourth inning with a homer. Ethier came to the plate twice in a span of three Dodgers batters. He went deep during the second of those at-bats. Crew chief Mike Winters wanted Ethier to hit behind Matt Kemp to adhere to the lineup card the Dodgers submitted to the umpires before the game. - AP