MANNY'S MOOD SWINGS
Manny Ramirez (left) wants out of Boston. Again. The Red Sox leftfielder has asked to be traded for at least the third time in the past four seasons. He told team officials he is unhappy in Boston, particularly with his lack of privacy off the field. The Red Sox have no intention of trading Ramirez (.277, 27 homers, 90 RBIs)--not during the season, anyway. They could field offers in the off-season for Ramirez, who is due $57 million over the next three years.
Boston has learned to live with Ramirez's moods in order to keep his bat. He asked to be traded in spring training 2002, and again after the '03 season. However, when Boston agreed in principle to trade Ramirez to Texas as part of the ill-fated Alex Rodriguez deal, Ramirez telephoned owner John Henry late one night pleading to stay.
The weak-hitting Nationals' slim margin for error caught up with them recently, when they lost seven straight one-run games in a 4-12 tumble. Manager Frank Robinson finally benched shortstop Cristian Guzman (below), replacing him with Jamey Carroll. Guzman's hitting woes are plunging to historic depths. Batting .186 through Sunday, he is on pace to become only the sixth player in the past 100 years to hit worse than .190 with 400 at bats, joining Ed Zimmerman (.185 in 1911), Mickey Doolan (.186 in 1915), Eddie Joost (.185 in 1943), Eddie Brinkman (.185 in 1965) and Rob Deer (.179 in 1991).
KNOCK ON WOOD
Remember when Kerry Wood (right) was supposed to be the next Nolan Ryan? At 28, with more shoulder trouble and still without a 15-win season, he now looks like the next Chan Ho Park. Here's how Wood's career numbers resemble those of Park at the same age:
•In the first 162 games of his career, Mets third baseman David Wright hit .292 with 28 homers, 89 RBIs and 96 runs scored. He's only 22.
•Washington coverup exposed! Last week the power alleys at RFK Stadium were measured at 395 feet, or 15 more than posted on the outfield wall. No wonder only 52 homers have been hit there in 50 games this year.
•No righthanded-hitting Yankee has led the league in slugging since Joe DiMaggio in 1950. Alex Rodriguez (.589) was second to the Orioles' Miguel Tejada (.592) at week's end.
•Just one more reason to be amazed by Astros ace Roger Clemens: He's allowed only 10 hits in 100 at bats with runners in scoring position this season.
•Still trying to fix their bullpen the Red Sox called the Blue Jays about righthander Justin Speier, but Boston isn't interested in dealing top minor league prospects--infielders Hanley Ramirez and Dustin Pedroia and pitchers Manny Delcarmen, Jon Lester and Jon Papelbon--making any such trade unlikely.