Minnesota (54-47) at Boston (56-45)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Boston, MA
Temp: 66° F
  • Game info: 7:05 pm EDT Fri Jul 29, 2005
  • TV: FSNO, NESN
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Apparently Manny Ramirez would like this to be his last series in a Boston uniform. The Red Sox might not mind, either.

The problem for both player and team is, he’s likely to wear the same uniform next week.

Assuming he plays, Ramirez may hear some negative feedback from the Fenway Park crowd following his latest trade request as the Red Sox open a three-game set against the Minnesota Twins.

Ramirez has asked to be traded for at least the third time in four seasons, according to a recent report on Sports Illustrated’s Web site.

It seems the Red Sox, who once put Ramirez on waivers and also tried to trade him in a deal for Alex Rodriguez, are willing to part with Ramirez despite the fact he remains one of baseball’s top run producers. He leads the majors with 92 RBIs and is tied with Rodriguez for the AL lead with 28 home runs.

Since he is due $57 million over the remaining three years of his contract, Red Sox president Larry Lucchino said Thursday that trading the slugger before Sunday’s deadline will be very difficult.

“There aren’t a lot of clubs that are going to be interested, but it depends how little you’re willing to take in return with respect to trades,” Lucchino said. “I’m not talking about Manny specifically, although it certainly applies to him.”

Lucchino and general manager Theo Epstein may have to resist offers for Ramirez, though, because the Red Sox are already thin in the outfield with Trot Nixon getting placed on the disabled list Wednesday.

“It is the time of year when you consider all manner of trades,” Lucchino said. “Theo is certainly willing to be bold and make moves that other GMs might shy away from, so this is the time for us to think about trades and, certainly, Manny’s name will come up from time to time, I’m sure, in the next 72 hours.”

Ramirez hasn’t been playing as if he’s unhappy, with six homers and 11 RBIs in his last 11 games. However, he refused manager Terry Francona’s request to play Wednesday at Tampa Bay after Nixon was put on the DL. Before the injury, Francona told Ramirez he could have the day off.

There also was good news on Wednesday for the Red Sox, with Matt Clement getting released from the hospital and accompanying his teammates back to Boston only one day after being hit in the head by a line drive. He showed up in the clubhouse in the middle innings of the game, and Boston went on to beat the Devil Rays 4-1.

“We knew he was at the hotel, then you heard players buzzing when he showed up,” Francona said. “Our guys were kind of scrambling back to say hello and check on him. I thought that was a great lift for everybody, myself included.”

The Red Sox won two of three in that series, but Minnesota could not prevent Boston’s closest pursuer in the AL East from keeping pace. The Twins lost two of three to the New York Yankees, who remained 1 1/2 games behind the first-place Red Sox.

Minnesota, meanwhile, has hurt its chances of catching the first-place Chicago White Sox in the AL Central by losing five of seven—part of an 8-13 slump since July 4.

Sitting 11 1/2 games behind the White Sox, the Twins likely will have to emerge from a crowded wild-card chase if they are to return to the postseason.

Winning more frequently on the road would boost Minnesota’s chances.

The Twins, winding down an 11-game road trip, have not won a series away from the Metrodome since taking two of three in Arizona from June 7-9, going 0-5-1.

These teams also play three games next weekend in Minneapolis.

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Starting Pitchers

C. Silva Bos vs. B. Arroyo Ari
9-8 Record 14-10
3.44 ERA 4.51
71 K 100
9 BB 54
1.17 WHIP 1.30