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Manny's deal: Car auction says he will be there on Saturday instead of camp

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- While Manny Ramírez’s teammates are scheduled to be working out here Saturday at the team’s player development facility, the Red Sox left fielder is scheduled to appear at a classic car auction in Atlantic City, according to radio ads playing in the Philadelphia area.

One ad, which has been running on Philadelphia station WYSP-FM since Feb. 14, says Ramírez will appear along with Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson, according to a station employee who reviewed the ad today.

Tony Avenso, who said he is a New Jersey dealer in high-end customized classic cars, primarily Cadillacs, and has sold Ramírez five classic cars, said Ramirez has plans to join him at the Atlantic City Classic Cars Auction at the Atlantic City Convention Center, which begins tomorrow and runs through Sunday.

Ramírez is planning to be there Saturday, said Avenso, who said he has been talking to Ramírez on a daily basis this week. Ramírez had not finalized plans, Avenso said, because of his mother’s medical condition. ‘‘His mother had surgery, then was taken back in [to the hospital],’’ Avenso said.

‘‘There’s no question he was coming up,’’ Avenso added. ‘‘He was flying up and staying with me in Atlantic City. He knows his good cars and his bad cars.’’

Ramírez has a car that is up for bid, according to Avenso -- a 1967 blue four-door Lincoln convertible custom built for him by Rad Rides and Troy Trepanier, who is legendary in the classic car industry.

‘‘A car like that, custom built by Troy, is guaranteed to go for $200,000 or more,’’ Avenso said. ‘‘This car is a work of art.

‘‘As fiery as Manny is on the baseball field, he’s pretty staid when it comes to picking the colors of his car.’’

This afternoon, Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein and manager Terry Francona appeared together to announce that Ramírez was not arriving until March 1 -- just as teammate Julian Tavarez had told Channel 4’s Dan Roche Sunday night.

‘‘Manny’s going to be here ready to go March 1,’’ Epstein said. ‘‘He’s got a family situation. I think the important thing from our perspective at this point is when he does show up on March 1, he’s ready to go and is accountable to his teammates, accountable to the organization.’’

Today was the reporting date for Sox position players, but under terms of baseball’s collective bargaining agreement, players are not required to report until Feb. 27.

‘‘Manny’s still crazy, I’m still baby-sitting,’’ Sox DH David Ortiz said when asked about Ramírez’s absence today.

According to one source, Ramírez’s agent, Greg Genske, has told the Sox that Ramírez will not be in Atlantic City. Avenso, however, insisted that Ramírez told him he plans to come, depending on his mother’s health.

Louise Cunningham, who works for G. Potter King, the Berlin, N.J., car dealer promoting the auction, told The Associated Press that Ramirez still plans to attend.

”All we know, he’s coming at noon on Saturday, nothing else,” she said.

Avenso said he has purchased at least five classic cars for Ramírez, including an original 1960 Impala two-door sport coupe, and a 1960 original Cadillac convertible. ‘‘We’re looking at two others right now.’’

Avenso said he met Ramírez and Ortiz several years ago, and has been buying cars for Ramírez since.

‘‘He’s one of the nicest people I’ve ever met in my life,’’ Avenso said. ‘‘And my wife has been a Red Sox fan since she was 2 years old.’’

If someone meets Ramírez’s asking price on the Lincoln, Avenso said, the buyer will also receive an autographed baseball signed by Ramírez, an autographed photo, and the copy of the original title in his name.

Gordon Edes can be reached at

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