Hammy keeps Manny out of BoSox-Angels opener

Updated: August 22, 2006, 9:49 PM ET
Associated Press

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Ramirez

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Slugger Manny Ramirez was not in the starting lineup for the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday night against the Los Angeles Angels because of a cramp in his right hamstring.

Ramirez, who took himself out of Monday's 2-1 loss to the Yankees in the fifth inning, is hitting .330 with 34 homers and 100 RBI. Wily Mo Pena started in left field in place of the 10-time All-Star, who leads the AL with a .446 on-base percentage and was retired only once in 23 plate appearances during the New York Yankees' five-game sweep of the Red Sox at Fenway Park.

"We held out for a while, but he's just sore," manager Terry Francona said. "So we're working on him to get him back as quickly as possible. If all he can do is hit, then we're somewhat limited."

Still smarting from the drubbing they received from their archrivals over the weekend, the Red Sox placed shortstop Alex Gonzalez on the 15-day disabled list because of a strained oblique muscle in his right side. The move is retroactive to Aug. 19.

"I need to play and help my team, but I can't play with something like that," said Gonzalez, who is best remembered for his 12th-inning game-ending home run against the Yankees' Jeff Weaver in Game 4 of the 2003 World Series. "I can't swing hard and can't do much of anything. You use your back for everything -- throwing, fielding, hitting. This is the first time I've had an injury like this. You try to get ready to play, but you can't mess around with this kind of injury."

Middle infielder Dustin Pedroia made his big-league debut at shortstop after his contract was purchased from Triple-A Pawtucket. He was in Ottawa with the Paw Sox when he got the word of his promotion and made a connecting flight from Chicago to Anaheim in time for the opener of a nine-game road trip.

In 2004, Pedroia finished third in the voting for the Golden Spikes award, which is presented to amateur baseball's top player. The winner that year was Jered Weaver, who is 9-0 in his rookie season with the Los Angeles Angels and could face Pedroia on Thursday night.

"I was excited when I found out. I'm just happy for the opportunity I'll do anything I can to help these guys win," said Pedroia, who played more second base than shortstop for Pawtucket. "It's unfortunate about Alex. But I talked to Tito [Francona] for a couple of minutes and he told me, 'Just go out there and play and have the time of your life.' So that's what I'm going to try to do."

Left-hander reliever Javier Lopez was optioned to Pawtucket, switching places with left-hander Kason Gabbard.


Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press