Ortiz, Ramirez, Pena to have additional medical tests

Updated: August 30, 2006, 10:57 AM ET
Associated Press

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Red Sox slugger David Ortiz was hospitalized in Boston for the second time this month, checking into Massachusetts General on Tuesday night for further tests on his heart.

Manny Ramirez
Ramirez

David Ortiz
Ortiz

Ortiz felt heart palpitations about 10 days ago and again before Monday night's game in Oakland, where he was a late scratch from the lineup. He returned to Boston for more tests, Red Sox medical director Thomas Gill said Tuesday.

The team didn't release any further information.

"We really don't feel he's going to keel over," manager Terry Francona said before Tuesday's game at Oakland. "He was tested the other night. A lot of people have these things. ... He has to know that he is fine. We're not going to jeopardize his health."

Earlier Tuesday, the Red Sox also sent their other two top hitters back to Boston for medical tests, with Manny Ramirez and Wily Mo Pena heading East to join Ortiz.

Ramirez has played in only one of Boston's last five games because of a sore right knee, and Pena has missed the last three games due to soreness in his left wrist. Ortiz was scheduled for further tests that were expected to take a few days.

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Buster Olney offers his take on the Red Sox's shopping David Wells and the injuries to Manny Ramirez and Papi Ortiz on the Dan Patrick Show. He also discusses what the Yankees can do about Carl Pavano and his car crash.

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In addition, David Wells returned to Boston to prepare for his start Thursday.

Ortiz was admitted to a hospital on Aug. 19 for a full examination and tests. Based on the results of those tests, he was cleared to return when he felt better.

"David had not experienced any additional episodes of palpitations until Monday evening," Gill said. "With the recurrence of these symptoms, we would like David to be fully examined and tested before he is allowed to return to the field."

The Red Sox determined that sending the players home before the conclusion of the road trip would give doctors a head start, rather than waiting until Thursday. There was discussion about placing Ramirez and Pena on the disabled list, but both players are day to day.

"Once we made the determination that Manny and Wily Mo could not play in Oakland, we thought it made sense to send them back as soon as possible," general manager Theo Epstein said. "It's not often you have these gray-area injuries all at the same time."

Francona spoke to Ramirez on Monday about the left fielder's tender knee, which was still painful.

"We need to protect him," Francona said. "He's too good. He deserves it."

Rookie left-hander Jon Lester, placed on the disabled list Monday with a strained back, underwent a battery of tests Tuesday.

For the reeling Red Sox, losing Ortiz and the others served as a reminder that this is only baseball in the big picture of life.

"You just hope everything is OK," said infielder Mark Loretta, who discussed his own mother's heart problems with Big Papi before the slugger left town. "Hopefully, they rule out anything and that it's just stress or fatigue or the two. ... Baseball kind of takes a little bit of a back seat when you're talking about things of this nature.

"It's very unique. In all my years, you've seen injuries and you talk about how every team has injuries, but we're beyond that stage."

Ortiz, one of the top contenders for the AL MVP award, is batting .287 with 47 homers and 121 RBI. Ramirez leads the team with a .326 average and has 34 homers and 100 RBI; Pena, who went on the DL for seven weeks in May for surgery on his left wrist, has 11 homers and 38 RBI in just 217 at-bats.

"Certainly I like the fact that he's not playing, but I don't like the fact that he's not playing for that reason," Yankees manager Joe Torre said, referring to Ortiz.

The Red Sox are looking forward to the returns of catcher Jason Varitek and right fielder Trot Nixon -- and both will begin rehab assignments in the coming days with Triple-A Pawtucket. Varitek had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee Aug. 3, while Nixon has been on the 15-day DL since July 31 with a strained right biceps.

Varitek is scheduled to catch five innings Friday and seven Saturday. Nixon will be the designated hitter Thursday and Saturday, and play the field Friday.

"It sounds like we're talking about the war front -- reinforcements," Loretta said.


Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press