Sox give Manny permission to report to camp late

2/22/2006 - MLB Manny Ramirez Boston Red Sox + more

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Manny Ramirez was given permission by the Boston Red Sox to report to spring training on March 1, six days after the team's first full-squad workout and one day after Major League Baseball's mandatory reporting date.

Ramirez asked the team through his agent to trade him during the offseason, but the Red Sox were unable to find a deal to their liking.

"Manny is in Florida completing an extensive training regimen and is prepared to have an exceptional season," said a joint statement from Ramirez and the team that was released by the Red Sox on Tuesday.

Boston general manager Theo Epstein has refused comment on his discussions with Ramirez, saying they are between the club and the player.

"I think Manny knows that we have made a good-faith effort to meet his ... request," Jed Hoyer, then Boston's co-general manager, said Jan. 12. "We haven't found a deal that works for us."

Position players are due in town on Wednesday, the day before the first workout. Baseball's collective bargaining agreement sets the mandatory reporting date as 33 days prior to the major-league opener, which is April 2.

Boston starts its exhibition schedule on March 2 against Minnesota. Ramirez might not be in Fort Myers long -- he is on the Dominican Republic's preliminary roster for the World Baseball Classic, which runs from March 3-20.

Ramirez batted .292 with 45 homers and 144 RBI last year. He said during the season he didn't want to stay with the Red Sox, a statement he's made in many of his five years with the club.

On Sunday, David Ortiz, also scheduled to play for the Dominican Republic, said he didn't know where Ramirez was.

"I talked to Manny like a week ago and he was going to Italy tomorrow," Ortiz said.

He must have been joking, Ortiz decided, since Ramirez probably couldn't get back in time for Thursday's workout.

"He seems happy," Ortiz said. "I read in the news that he wants to stay in Boston. Something like that, right? That's good. Sounds good to me. Having my man around once again. Hopefully, things never change."