I don't have any preferences: I could choose a team that offers me the best conditions or one in the chase for the postseason. I don't care where I play, I can even play in Iraq if need be. My job is to play baseball.
-- Manny Ramirez
"If the Red Sox are a better team without Manny Ramirez, they should trade me; I will not object," said Ramirez in a telephone interview with ESPNdeportes.com on Sunday.
"I don't have any preferences: I could choose a team that offers me the best conditions or one in the chase for the postseason. I don't care where I play, I can even play in Iraq if need be. My job is to play baseball," added Ramirez.
Ramirez, .298, with 16 home runs and 63 RBIs this season, returned to the Red Sox lineup on Saturday to face the New York Yankees after missing the two previous games due to pain in his right knee.
Manager Terry Francona and Red Sox officers spoke with Ramirez on Friday after the results to test of both his knees revealed no injuries.
There were reports in the Boston media that the team was planning to take disciplinary action against Ramirez if he did not return to the lineup for the last two games of the series against the Yankees.
It was also suggested during the weekend that the Red Sox management could evaluate the idea of trading Ramirez before Thursday's deadline.
Ramirez, 36, is playing the last season of the eight-year, $168 million contract he signed with Boston in December 2000. The club keeps two options of $20 million each.
"If they can get a trade, I'd approve it. If they can't trade me, then they will simply have to inform me by the end of the season that they won't use the options and we'll go separate ways," said Ramirez, who must approve any trade to a different team because of his 10-5 condition (10 years in the Major Leagues and the last five with the same team).
"I don't want to be a problem and a distraction to the Red Sox in such a critical moment of the season. I want to help the team, even if that means I have to go," said Ramirez.
As regards his knee problems, Ramirez said he thinks he's dealing with tendinitis and denied he could be faking injuries.
"I'm a ballplayer with more than 500 home runs and almost 2,000 RBIs. I'm a professional. I don't know how anybody can say I could be making it all up," said Ramirez, who has hit .312 with 509 home runs and 1,667 RBIs in 16 seasons.
Ramirez is convinced that all the fuss surrounding his injury and his contractual situation is part of a Red Sox campaign to portray him as the "bad guy."
"The Yankees are getting closer and getting stronger, while we haven't done much," said Ramirez. "I could say that right now there's a strange atmosphere in our team," he added.