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Sox activate Foulke; Manny sits

The Red Sox activated reliever Keith Foulke today, and manager Terry Francona said he would be eased back into the bullpen.

“Our goal is to get him to be a dominant guy to lean on again,” Francona said. “We’re not there yet. We’re going to try to pitch him in spots, not in a one-run lead or in a save situation.”

Francona gave Manny Ramirez the night off tonight, saying he told the outfielder he felt he should sit so he could get ready for the next stretch of games coming up (Boston’s next off day is Sept. 22). Francona said Ramirez appeared to chase four or five pitches out of the strike zone last night, and felt his legs looked tired. Ramirez has played nine straight days since the Red Sox last had a scheduled off day (Aug. 22). Kevin Millar, who homered twice last night, will take his place in left field.

Tony Graffanino was also left out of tonight’s starting lineup with a tight right hamstring, but Francona said he expected his second baseman to be ready to play again tomorrow. Alex Cora will take his place at second. Graffanino was also out of last night’s lineup.

Tonight’s Red Sox lineup is as follows:

1. Johnny Damon, CF
2. Edgar Renteria, SS
3. David Ortiz, DH
4. Trot Nixon, RF
5. Jason Varitek, C
6. Kevin Millar, LF
7. John Olerud, 1B
8. Bill Mueller, 3B
9. Alex Cora, 2B

As expected, the Sox activated infielder Alejandro Machado (.303, 21 steals in 26 attempts in Pawtucket) and righthanded reliever Matt Perisho (12 games, 2.13 ERA). Lefthander Lenny DiNardo has not yet been activated by the team. DiNardo last started Sunday for Pawtucket, meaning he'd be available to pitch in Wells's spot in the rotation tomorrow.

Machado has also played seven games in the outfield, and Francona said he would continue to work there a bit.

Catcher Kelly Shoppach also would have gotten a call today, if he hadn't been injured on a play at the plate Tuesday night in Ottawa. Word on Shoppach is that he will be out 4-10 days. The Red Sox will activate him as soon as he’s healthy again, and won’t call up another catcher in the meantime.

Former Red Sox pitcher and minor league pitching coordinator Al Nipper is in Boston and will be with the team the next two weeks to work with the younger pitchers.

Suspended pitcher David Wells worked out at the park today.

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