A nice September aside, Nomar Garciaparra is attracting a good deal of attention for a guy that’s missed 181 games over the past two seasons.

From the LA Daily News’ Tony Jackson.

Free-agent shortstop Nomar Garciaparra met with Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti at Dodger Stadium on Thursday, a clear sign the five-time All-Star and St. John Bosco High of Bellflower product is serious about signing with his hometown club. However, the Dodgers are just one of four teams known to have a strong interest in Garciaparra.

Garciaparra, 32, is believed to have narrowed his choices to the Dodgers, Cleveland, Houston and the New York Yankees, and it is believed he would be willing to sign a one-year deal in the $6 million-to-$8 million range. But each of the four clubs will want Garciaparra to switch positions, with the Dodgers likely to move him to either first base or left field.

The Dodgers also continue to pursue free-agent outfielders Kenny Lofton, Reggie Sanders and Preston Wilson. But they appear to be long shots in the race to sign free-agent outfielder Johnny Damon, whose Los Angeles-based agent, Scott Boras, is believed to be asking for nothing short of a five-year guarantee. Free-agent outfielder Jacque Jones, a former USC All-American, also is close to falling off the Dodgers’ radar.

The New York Post’s George King reports that Princess A-Rod is bailing on the World Baseball Classic, not for fear of injury nor pressure from his employers, but because he doesn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings.

“After thoughtful deliberations with my family, I am announcing my decision to withdraw from the World Baseball Classic,” A-Rod told The Post from Miami. “When faced with the decision to choose between my country, the United States of America, and my Dominican heritage, I decided I will not dishonor either.”

I’m pretty sure Sidney Ponson has a similar excuse — rather than offend Team Netherlands or let down the other members of Alcoholics Unanimous, he’ll be taking it easy this spring. That is, unless the Mariners sign him.