Ramirez rejoins team amid more controversy

Updated: September 2, 2003, 2:03 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Another day, another strange twist in the Manny Ramirez saga for a Red Sox team trying to keep up in another pennant race.

A day after the Providence Journal reported that Ramirez was seen in a hotel bar Saturday night with the Yankees' Enrique Wilson after sitting out another crucial game against New York with a throat ailment, Tuesday's Boston Globe reported that he also did not report to Fenway Park on Sunday for a doctor's appointment.

Ramirez
Ramirez

A high-ranking Boston team official expressed "serious concern" about the circumstances surrounding Ramirez's failure to report for the appointment Sunday and inability to play Monday in Philadelphia, the Globe reported.

Red Sox players have not come out in support of Ramirez, whose dedication to the team has been questioned since the controversy began.

Center fielder Johnny Damon, who was hurt in an outfield collision Saturday but sat out only one game, said he didn't want to focus on the team's apparent dissatisfaction with Ramirez.

"I would much rather not give my thoughts on that," Damon told the Globe. "We know he's a big part of our team, so we want him around whether it's sitting on the bench or just holding a bat somewhere. That's all I'll comment on that."

Ramirez, a .317 clean-up hitter with 31 home runs and 90 RBI, has rejoined the Red Sox, who trail New York by 4 in the AL East and Seattle by a game in the wild card race. They are in the midst of a nine-game road trip that continues with games Tuesday and Wednesday in Chicago against the White Sox. Manager Grady Little told the Globe that he hoped Ramirez is healthy enough to play Tuesday night.

Ramirez, who's in the third year of an eight-year, $160 million contract, has declined to publicly address the controversy surrounding him.

On Sunday, Little was left waiting to write his lineup for the series finale against the Yankees. The Globe reported that team officials tried to reach Ramirez, to no avail. When Wilson was asked to explain Ramirez's absence, he told reporters in Toronto on Monday that "sometimes he does crazy things."

A team official who asked not to be identified told the Globe that Wilson -- an Indians teammate of Ramirez from 1997-2000 -- visited Ramirez at the Ritz on Avery Street, where Ramirez lives during the season.

"He told me that he was sick," Wilson told reporters Monday in Toronto, where the Yankees opened a series against the Blue Jays. "He didn't want to play [Saturday] because he didn't feel so good."

The same team official said Ramirez accompanied Wilson back to his hotel, the Ritz on Arlington Street. The reports claiming that Ramirez spent time in a Ritz bar have not been confirmed. Wilson also told reporters he did not see Ramirez in a bar.

"He came to my room, we went to the lobby, and he left," Wilson said. "He didn't go to the bar. After he left, I don't know if he went home

Asked about Ramirez's socializing Saturday night, Little told the Globe, "I don't know anything about that. I know he lives at the Ritz [on Avery]. I don't know anything about it. I'm going to find out."

Little later told the newspaper that he talked to Ramirez about it, but he declined to elaborate on the conversation.

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