Ramirez to bat second in return to Red Sox lineup
BOSTON -- Manny Ramirez returned to the Red Sox lineup on Tuesday night after missing 24 games with a strained muscle in his left side and started two run-scoring innings.
He lined a single to right field on a 1-2 count in the first inning against Oakland and scored on Mike Lowell's double that tied the game 1-1. After popping out to second baseman Mark Ellis in the second, he led off the fifth with a walk on a 3-2 pitch.
He received applause when Brandon Moss came in to pinch-run. Boston manager Terry Francona had said Ramirez wouldn't play the entire game.
Kevin Youkilis, who had missed seven consecutive games with a bruised right wrist, pinch hit for Eric Hinske and ended the fifth by popping out to Ellis. The first baseman had been sidelined since being hit by a pitch on Sept. 15 by Chien-Ming Wang of the New York Yankees.
Youkilis stayed in the game at first base and Moss replaced Ramirez in left field as the Red Sox defeated the A's 7-3.
Ramirez was put in the No. 2 spot in the order, a place he had occupied just six times in his previous 1,994 major league games over 15 seasons. He has hit fourth in most of those games.
Francona said batting second would allow Ramirez to get an extra at-bat in the opener of a two-game series against the Athletics before being replaced.
Ramirez was injured on Aug. 28 in a game against the Yankees in New York. The Red Sox were 80-52 after that game with a seven-game lead in the AL East over the second-place Yankees. In the 24 games without him, they were 12-12 and their lead dropped to two games.
Francona said Ramirez had a good session of batting practice on Monday, leading to the decision to start him instead of using him off the bench as a pinch-hitter. He is batting .292 with 20 homers and 86 RBIs.
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press