Manny Ramírez's agent, Scott Boras, denied yesterday that he spoke to the Red Sox Thursday within an hour after Ramírez was informed he'd been traded to the Dodgers, in an effort to keep the outfielder in Boston.
A story in Saturday's Globe, citing a source with direct knowledge of the trade negotiations, indicated that Boras asked the Sox to take away the two option years on Ramírez's contract in exchange for the left fielder's word that he would play hard and be a good teammate the remainder of the season.
"I never contacted the Red Sox after the deal was made," Boras said.
How about before?
"Theo [Epstein] and I had many discussions," Boras said. "Both parties agreed that it was in the best interest of everyone involved for Manny to move forward." Boras did not address whether the dropping of the options was discussed in his earlier conversations with Epstein.
The Red Sox did not respond to messages seeking comment on the story or Boras's denial.
Boras said he has not directly heard Ramírez disparage the Red Sox, but had read quotes attributed to Ramírez concerning his displeasure with team management. "From my point of view in dealing with the Red Sox, they did things in a forthright manner," said Boras.
While buoyed by Friday night's 2-1, 12-inning win over Oakland, the Sox started the second day of life after Manny with concerns about their new cleanup hitter, Mike Lowell.
Lowell was back in the lineup last night after being removed in the 10th inning Friday when the hip flexor muscle on his right side flared up. The affable third baseman said the ailment has bothered him for going on five weeks, and he had a cortisone shot in his hip before the All-Star break.
"I extended myself a little more [Friday] because I was trying to beat out a hit," Lowell said before last night's game. "When I slow down is when I feel it grabbing, not so much when I'm running. It doesn't let me extend normally."
With Ramírez's potent righthanded bat in Los Angeles, the Sox are relying on Lowell to be their cleanup hitter most of the time. Manager Terry Francona thought Lowell would stay in the lineup through the weekend so he could face two Oakland lefthanders, Dana Eveland last night and Dallas Braden today.
Lowell was to meet with team medical director Thomas Gill yesterday to determine the next course of action.
"I think we've tried everything treatment-wise," said Lowell. "That's why we're going to talk to the doctor and see what he wants to do. Maybe with a supersonic anti-inflammatory it will come down.
"We've tried heat, stretch, stim, ultrasound, massage. I got a cortisone shot before the All-Star break. We've kind of exhausted everything. I don't know. It's just a nagging thing that hasn't gone away."
Lowell said the condition does not affect his swing, but it does affect his running. That's when it hurts the most.
"Thankfully it's not a major aspect of the game for me," he said. "I'm not that fast to start, so I really feel slow."
The Sox have the luxury of playing Kevin Youkilis at third base to spell Lowell while Sean Casey plays first. Jed Lowrie moved from shortstop to third Friday night after Lowell left the game.
David Ortiz said he has talked to Ramírez since the trade. "He seems happy," said Ortiz. "He's getting used to LA. He'll do fine out there. He can hit anywhere." . . . Bartolo Colon will start for Pawtucket Tuesday in Scranton, Pa., and David Aardsma will pitch in relief for the PawSox tomorrow. Aardsma appears very close to being ready to return to the parent club, at which point righthander Chris Smith would likely be returned to the PawSox . . . Francona was excited about Mike Timlin's clean inning Friday night. "The ball was coming out of his hand on a downward plane with velocity. That was good," Francona said. Timlin has been battling tendinitis in his left knee the last few months . . . There was still a good feeling in the Sox' clubhouse yesterday over Jason Bay's debut Friday night. Teammates already seem to enjoy Bay and his professional attitude. Francona reiterated that he doesn't want Bay to feel as if he has to be Ramírez's replacement, and just be himself.