July 23, 2008

SEATTLE (AP) -- Manny Ramirez was out of Boston's lineup Wednesday against the Seattle Mariners with what his manager said was a sore knee.

"Just showed up this morning. He just came in and said, 'My right knee hurts,"' manager Terry Francona said hours before the Red Sox went for a series sweep.

When asked if the slugger will be back for Friday's opener against the New York Yankees at Fenway Park, Francona said, "I'm hoping it'll be all right Friday. I don't know. I don't really have a good answer for that. I hope so."

Ramirez said his knee has been bothering him for about a week.

"I've just been trying to play it out," he said, while jokingly singing for tips at his locker in the clubhouse, with his I-Pod docked to a speaker and a cup out seeking donations from teammates. "I decided it was time to give it a rest."

Asked if he would be ready for the Yankees, Ramirez said, "I don't know. I'm day-to-day at this point."

Jacoby Ellsbury replaced Ramirez in left field against Seattle.

The Red Sox are already without All-Star designated hitter David Ortiz, who's been on the disabled list since injuring his wrist May 30. Ortiz was scheduled for a final rehabilitation game Wednesday with Double-A Portland after a stint for Triple-A Pawtucket last week, and remains on track to rejoin the Red Sox on Friday.

"We're in pretty good shape there," Francona said.

Ramirez was 4-for-8 in the first two games of the Seattle series, extending his hitting streak to 11 games while showing no signs of injury. He entered Wednesday batting .301 with a team-leading 19 home runs and 62 RBIs. The 36-year-old had played in 95 of Boston's first 102 games and hadn't sat out an entire game since June 18 at Philadelphia.

Ramirez made some minor waves this week with a Seattle traffic cop.

The Seattle Times reported Ramirez disobeyed a police officer's command for pedestrians to stop at a crosswalk outside Safeco Field soon after Monday night's game, then asked Ramirez for identification and threatened him with a $500 fine. After asking if Ramirez had attended the game and then giving a brief lecture, the officer reportedly let the cooperative Ramirez go.

Francona was still getting a laugh from the incident Wednesday.

"Jaywalking. Do it right and you want hurt your knee," the manager said.

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