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Manny gets a night off

Struggling outfielder will work in the batting cage

Manny Ramirez has been given tonight off by manager Terry Francona, who indicated that Ramirez has been struggling at the plate and decided to give him the night to take some swings in the batting cage.

"Let him take another day," Francona said. "Let him come back and feel good and (then) he can put us on his back for a couple of games."

Francona said the Sox have a deep enough lineup that they can give Ramirez a night off, a luxury that other teams cannot afford.

"He's lost his base," added the manager, regarding Ramirez's footing in the batter's box. "It's a good night to give him. (Kevin) Millar's been hitting well, (Matt) Clement's on the mound. It's a wise decision but made easier when you can do that. If we didn't have (John) Olerud it would be harder to do this."

Francona did not rule out using Ramirez as a pinch hitter. "If he (Angels manager Mike Scioscia) wants to bring in a lefthander at some point, I'm sure he'll be a little hesitant," Francona said.

In other news, David Ortiz and Vladimir Guerrero have pledged $50,000 each to Hurricane Katrina victims and are encouraging other major league ballplayers to do the same. The two were watching the hurricane coverage on television when they decided they should do something. Ortiz said the United States has been helpful when the Dominican had been hit by storms last season. The Red Sox and the Red Sox Foundation had contributed to an initiative led by Dominican-born players Pedro Martinez, David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez that resulted in a donation of more than $200,000 to aid the Dominican Republic and Haiti in the wake of flooding that occurred there at the end of May, 2004.

“The United States has provided my family and me with more than we could have ever dreamed,” Ortiz said. “Seeing the pictures on TV and hearing the painful stories of personal despair, I knew I had to do something to try to help. I have to give back to this country that has given me so much.

“I’ll never forget the way Red Sox fans and the team’s owners helped my country after the floods last year. I couldn’t watch what is happening now and not do something.”

“This country has done so much for me and my family,” said Guerrero, the 2004 American League Most Valuable Player. “We have to help these people, and we hope others will too.”

Tonight’s Red Sox lineup:

1. Johnny Damon, CF

2. Edgar Renteria, SS

3. David Ortiz, DH

4. John Olerud, 1B

5. Trot Nixon, RF

6. Jason Varitek, C

7. Kevin Millar, LF

8. Bill Mueller, 3B

9. Tony Graffanino, 2B

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