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Ramírez's MRI shows no damage

Slugger is day-to-day with patellar tendinitis

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- The MRI of Manny Ramírez's right knee yesterday showed no structural damage, manager Terry Francona said, and the initial diagnosis was patellar tendinitis, an inflammation of the tendons that connect the kneecap (patella) to the muscles that straighten the leg.

The condition is commonly known as ``jumper's knee," though it also has affected numerous baseball players, including Braves slugger Andruw Jones. Some players who developed chronic patellar tendinitis have had their careers cut short, such as former Cardinals slugger Mark McGwire and former Red Sox infielder John Valentin, who ultimately ruptured his patellar tendon.

Ice, rest, and anti-inflammatory medication are commonly prescribed treatments.

Ramírez, who was examined by Angels orthopedist Lewis Yocum yesterday afternoon, does not need to be placed on the 15-day disabled list, Francona said, and his availability is listed as day-to-day. The results of the MRI also were sent to Boston for Red Sox medical director Thomas Gill to review.

Kevin Youkilis, for the second time in three games, batted in Ramírez's No. 4 spot in the order in last night's finale of the three-game series with the Angels and went 1 for 4. Wily Mo Peña played left field, with Eric Hinske in right. Peña was responsible for preventing the tying run from scoring in the seventh, cutting down Juan Rivera at the plate on Howie Kendrick's single with no outs.

Ramírez was lifted from Wednesday night's 5-4 Sox win midway through the fourth inning. He arrived in the clubhouse and walked around without the benefit of any wrap, but was not listed among any of the batting practice groups yesterday.

``I think we eliminated some structural stuff that worried us," Francona said, ``which is good.

``I'm not ruling out anything," he added, when asked about Ramírez's availability. ``It bothered him enough to come out of a game, I can't imagine him feeling today that there are no problems.

``I don't think tendinitis goes away overnight. It's probably going to be what he can tolerate."

Francona said it's possible he'll use Ramírez as a designated hitter. ``I don't think hitting is the problem," Francona said.

``We have to figure out if he can go defensively."

Staying close to home
Jason Varitek, who caught demoted reliever Craig Hansen back in Boston, has elected not to join the team this weekend in Seattle, as originally planned, deciding he can accomplish more on his rehab from torn knee cartilage if he remains home. Varitek is progressing sufficiently, Francona said, that he may be just a week away from playing, with Sept. 1 a reasonable target date for his return. It remains to be seen, Francona said, whether Varitek will need to go on a rehab assignment for a game or two . . . Tim Wakefield threw off a mound for a third time yesterday. ``Got 'em all out," said Wakefield, who was originally projected to pitch Sunday in Seattle but has been pushed back, with Kyle Snyder scheduled to take that turn. ``Threw a no-hitter." . . . David Ortiz toured the plant where they make Oakley sunglasses and came back with a box of shades that he passed out to teammates. ``The place was unbelievable," he said.

Accidental hurler
As if pitching against the Yankees on national television in a soldout Fenway Park with the division lead at stake isn't enough of a burden for a rookie pitcher, it turns out lefthander Jon Lester also was involved in a car accident on the way to the ballpark.

``Got rear-ended on Storrow Drive," said Lester, adding that he was not hurt in the accident.

Did the other driver recognize him? ``I don't know," Lester said. ``He barely spoke any English. It wasn't a big deal."

Lester got the win Wednesday, pitching five innings despite some back stiffness. ``It's been that way a little bit before this," Lester said, ``but it stiffened up the past week. Last night, it was just hard to get my back loose. My arm felt fine, but it was hard to get full torque."

It was another outing with a high pitch count for Lester, who threw 96 pitches while allowing three runs on six hits and four walks. ``But even if I'd had my normal fastball, the important thing is we got the win," said Lester, reporting that his back felt better after continued treatment.

Loretta sits
Dustin Pedroia made his third straight start since his call-up, second at second base, as Mark Loretta continues to nurse a strained right quadriceps. There is still swelling and bruising where Loretta sustained the injury, and trainers recommended he sit out another game. ``The trainers thought it better to calm it down rather than let it flare up again," Loretta said. ``It's been bothering me for a few weeks, and I aggravated it again Sunday night and it swelled up again after Tuesday's game." Pedroia went 0 for 4 in the No. 2 hole, dropping his average to .091 (1 for 11) . . . Dave Smith of, in the wake of last weekend's five-game sweep by the Yankees, said that there have been 2,067 five-game series since 1871, and on only 68 occasions were the visitors the team doing the sweeping. The Sox and Yankees have played 29 five-game series since 1903; the Sox swept three series, the Bombers five.

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