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Chin music strikes sour note

TORONTO -- Memo to American League pitchers: Manny Ramirez will tolerate only so much. Blue Jays reliever Terry Adams, newly arrived from the National League, might have known not to mess with the Red Sox slugger had he watched Ramirez head toward Yankee Roger Clemens with bat in hand in last year's American League Championship Series after Clemens threw him a high fastball.

But Ramirez reinforced the message last night. When Adams fired a 1-and-2 fastball up and in with one out in the ninth inning, Ramirez dropped his bat and headed toward the mound, prompting both benches and bullpens to empty.

"Maybe he didn't do it on purpose," Ramirez said. "I don't care about getting hit. I know a lot of pitchers are going to try to back me off the plate. Hit me, and I'll take it. But don't throw so up near my head. I just wanted to let him know, I don't care if they hit me, but don't throw that high at the head to anybody."

Adams did not appear to welcome a confrontation, nor did either team. No players made contact with each other, the field quickly cleared, and no one was ejected.

"The first thing the umpire said was, `It wasn't on purpose,' " Sox manager Terry Francona said. "I certainly don't doubt that, but it was awful hard and it was awful up and in. The umpire said something about the benches clearing, but it wasn't guys out there to fight. Manny just reacted."

Knee a bit balky

Don't get Ellis Burks wrong. He said his knee is not right. He suffered a slight tear of the left meniscus, or cartilage, changing directions on the basepaths during a game late in spring training. And he has received cortisone injections to reduce the swelling and discomfort.

But Burks plans to keep playing until he can play no more. A veteran leader who has played through discomfort much of his career, Burks said he has no reason to consider surgery.

"It becomes a problem when I can't run or when I can't put weight on it, and that's not the issue yet," he said. "There have been times when it irritates me and swells up on me, but I've had knee problems throughout my career and I know how to deal with that."

Burks, 39, has undergone multiple surgeries on his knees, yet has ranked as one of the most productive hitters of his time. He patiently fielded a barrage of questions about his ailments -- he also is receiving cortisone treatments for an ailing right elbow -- before he interrupted to make a point.

"I want to clarify something," he said. "The last three years, my knees have been great. Everybody's always talking about my knees, my knees. They were a concern in San Francisco, but once I got them surgically repaired after the '99 season, my knees were great.

"I injured it in spring training and slightly tore the meniscus and that's it. I'm tired of hearing all this concern about my knees, my knees, my knees. My knees are doing good except for that particular thing that just happened."

Burks, who is batting .091 (2 for 22), is expected to start at designated hitter tonight.

Hooky for hockey?

Francona said he had no problem with a number of players staying behind Monday to attend the Bruins game and catching up with the team yesterday by private jet. "I don't see why I wouldn't be [open-minded]," he said. "If my dad [former big leaguer Tito Francona] heard that, he'd probably look at me funny. This isn't 30 years ago. With their private jets, and guys can spend a night with their family, I think it's great." Francona said the players, including Curt Schilling, Derek Lowe, and Keith Foulke, received permission to stay behind. "As long as I know where people are, that's not a problem," he said. "That's not something that's going to disrespect the ball club. That's not even close to a problem." General manager Theo Epstein joined the players at the Bruins game, though he did not travel to Toronto . . . Byung Hyun Kim, who threw 45 pitches over 2 1/3 innings Monday in a rehab start for Triple A Pawtucket, is scheduled to make his next outing Saturday for Pawtucket as he inches closer to joining the Boston rotation. Kim, who is coming back from a strained right shoulder, allowed one run on four hits against Rochester. He walked none and struck out two . . . Pedro Martinez remains unbeaten at SkyDome, improving to 3-0 with a 2.59 ERA in seven career starts . . . The Jays tied a franchise record set in 1981 for the worst start to begin a season after 13 games (3-10). They are the first team in the majors to start a season 0-7 at home since the Cubs in '97 . . . The Jays went 19 innings without scoring until Kevin Cash's sacrifice fly in the seventh inning . . . Trot Nixon took six rounds of batting practice in Fort Myers, Fla., without pain as he rehabs from a mildly herniated disk. He is expected back next month. 

In Today's Globe
LATEST RESULTS
SaturdayRHE
Red Sox 2 4 0
Yankees 0 4 2
WP: Martinez LP: Vazquez
 Box score   Log   Scores
Tue vs. Tampa Bay (7 pm)
TV: NESNRadio: WEEI 850-AM
Starting pitchers:
BOS: Wakefield NYY:Abbott
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AL EAST STANDINGS
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Boston 12 6 .667 --
Baltimore 10 7 .588 1.5
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Toronto 6 12 .333 6.0
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APRIL
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20
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W,4-2
21
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W,4-2
22
@Tor
L, 7-3
23
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W, 11-2
Sat Sun Mon Tues
24
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W, 3-2
25
@NY
W, 2-0
26
OFF
27
Tam.
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