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Red Sox put Nixon on DL; Ramirez sitting out

The Red Sox were without two-thirds of their starting outfield today in Tampa Bay after placing Trot Nixon on the disabled list and resting Manny Ramirez, who asked for the day off.

First baseman John Olerud took Ramirez’s cleanup spot in the Sox lineup, and Kevin Millar took his place in left field. The Red Sox have a scheduled day off tomorrow, so resting Ramirez today means he gets two days off.

In an interview today on Boston radio station WEEI 850 AM, Terry Francona said he told Ramirez over the weekend he would give him today’s game off, but that last night he asked his star slugger if he’d reconsider and play today because the team was “in a bit of a bind” after Nixon’s injury. According to Francona, Ramirez said he still needed the day off.

Nixon, batting .293 with 11 homers and 50 RBIs, strained his left oblique muscle while swinging at a pitch from Tampa Bay's Mark Hendrickson in the third inning of Boston's 10-9 win Tuesday night. He immediately left the game for pinch hitter Adam Hyzdu.

After missing the pitch, Nixon grimaced and clutched his left side.

Nixon had played in 89 of Boston's 100 games. Last season, he played in just 48 games because of a herniated disk in his back and a strained left thigh. He hit .315 with six homers and 23 RBIs and played all seven games of the AL championship series and the four games of the World Series.

The Red Sox can use Millar in right field and also have outfielders Hyzdu and Adam Stern.

Gabe Kapler, who signed with Boston after playing sparingly in Japan this year, is on the disabled list with a back injury and eligible to return Saturday. He has been on a rehab assignment at Pawtucket.

Nixon's roster spot will be taken by lefthanded reliever Lenny DiNardo, who is in his third stint with Boston this season. He fills a need for a reliever after the Red Sox designated lefties Alan Embree and John Halama for assignment in the past two weeks.

Ramirez, who reportedly asked the Red Sox to trade him for the third time in four years recently, has been criticized recently for what’s been perceived as a lack of focus on the field.

His latest hiccup came last night in Tampa Bay, where Ramirez clearly did not run hard down the first-base line after hitting what should have been a double-play grounder in the top of the 10th inning. Ramirez was safe on the play, but only because the throw from second base was off-line.

Last week at Fenway Park, Ramirez left the field to go into the Green Monster for what apparently was a bathroom break while Red Sox pitching coach Dave Wallace visited the mound. Ramirez barely made it out in time for the next pitch.

He also recently asked to be taken out of a game (the Red Sox were leading by a wide margin) against the Devil Rays with what was described as “tight hamstrings.” Before the next game, according to the Boston Globe, Ramirez’s teammates were playfully mocking the injury.

Yesterday afternoon, Sports Illustrated’s Tom Verducci published an article on SI.com that reported Ramirez asked the Red Sox for a trade, citing a lack of privacy as the reason he wanted out of Boston.

In other Red Sox news, starting pitcher Matt Clement, who was hit in the back of the head with a line drive last night, was released from the hospital today after a second CT scan was negative. Clement was not at the ballpark, but is scheduled to fly home with the team after today’s game.

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