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Back troubles KO Kielty and Ramírez

NEW YORK -- Red Sox outfielder Bobby Kielty said he is scheduled to undergo X-rays and perhaps other tests to determine the cause of continuing back pain, the result, he said, of colliding with the low bullpen wall in right field at Fenway Park in his first game with the team 10 days ago.

"I woke up and it's been contracting the whole day, spasming," Kielty said. "I wasn't in the lineup, so I've been taking some anti-inflammatories for it and things. Today was a day I kind of figured I could chill out on 'em a little bit, but I don't know, it's been bothering me a lot.

"I don't think I hit metal, but I hit it hard, and it crunched it up pretty good."

Kielty entered last night's 5-3 loss to the Yankees in the seventh inning when Manny Ramírez was forced out because of back spasms but he lasted just a half-inning.

"It's been something I've been able to play with, just deal with it, hope it gets better tomorrow or the next day," said Kielty. "I've never had back problems. Years ago, I had a couple broken vertebrae in my back, but since then, my back has been perfectly healthy and fine and stronger than it was before.

"I don't think this is going to be a big deal, but we're going to check it out and make sure it's all right."

Mussina bumped
While the Yankees were looking for a reliable starter behind Andy Pettitte and Chien-Ming Wang -- in their last six starts, Roger Clemens had an ERA over 5, rookie Phil Hughes had an ERA of 6, and Mike Mussina had an ERA of nearly 8 (7.98) -- the Red Sox not only have been getting solid pitching from Josh Beckett, Daisuke Matsuzaka, and Tim Wakefield, they have been winning with the back end of their rotation, too.

In their last six starts, a cycle that began July 24, Wakefield (5-1), Beckett (3-2), and Matsuzaka (2-4) are a combined 10-7 with a 2.88 ERA. But in the 14 games started by Curt Schilling, Kason Gabbard, Jon Lester, Julian Tavarez, and Clay Buchholz, the Sox are 10-4. Those five were a combined 5-2, 4.90 in that span.

Clemens, Mussina, and Hughes have combined for a 7-5 record with a 6.35 ERA since the same date.

Yankees manager Joe Torre said after last night's game that highly regarded prospect Ian Kennedy would be summoned to start in place of Mussina Saturday. In Mussina's last three starts, he is 0-3 with a 17.69 ERA, having surrendered 19 earned runs in 9 2/3 innings.

Putting a scare in him
Asked if he thought David Ortiz was a different hitter because of the sizable drop in home runs from last season (54) to this (24), Torre said, "I saw him today. He still scares the [expletive] out of me -- in a nice way. I like him a lot. I don't think because he's hitting fewer home runs that he scares you less." Ortiz began the night hitting .462 (18 for 39) with 16 RBIs and 16 runs in his last 10 games. He also had five home runs in that span. Overlooked in his three-homer spree in Chicago last weekend was that he collected his 40th double, a total he has matched just three times in his career. He is within seven of the career-high 47 doubles he hit in 2004 . . . Funniest part about the dugout flareup in Chicago between A.J. Pierzynski of the White Sox and batting coach Greg Walker, with Pierzynski complaining that no one had told him that Sox reliever Manny Delcarmen throws a cutter? "I don't throw a cutter," Delcarmen said yesterday. "[Jason Varitek] said that pitch [Pierzynski] was talking about was as straight as can be. I saw afterward that he was talking a lot to somebody, and then there was a lot of commotion. Sometimes my pitch moves a little, but I don't throw a cutter."

They're adding up
With his 20th home run last night, Ramírez became the 12th player to hit that many in 13 consecutive seasons. His second-inning shot also was his 52d against the Yankees, tying him with Carl Yastrzemski for fourth most for a Yankee opponent. Jimmie Foxx is first with 70, followed by Ted Williams (62) and Hank Greenberg (53) . . . J.D. Drew almost certainly got the start in right field over switch hitter Kielty because of his good numbers against lefthander Pettitte (6 for 14, .429, 2 HRs). Drew went 3 for 3 April 20 against Pettitte, all singles, and 0 for 3 a week later. Last night, he went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts . . . Doug Mirabelli (strained right calf) took batting practice here yesterday and is expected to come off the disabled list Sunday, the first day he is eligible . . . Terry Francona would not commit to a starter for Sunday and would not say whether Julian Tavarez will start this weekend . . . Kazuhiro Takeda, Japan's pitching coach in the World Baseball Classic, was here last night. Takeda was a teammate of Hideki Matsui on the Yomiuri Giants . . . For the first time since 2002, Pawtucket did not place anyone on the year-end International League All-Star team.

The place to be
Sox general manager Theo Epstein was in the house last night, along with principal owner John W. Henry and CEO Larry Lucchino. Composer Marvin Hamlisch was on the field for batting practice . . . Mike Lowell extended his hitting streak to 10 games with his fourth-inning single and also singled in the eighth . . . Derek Jeter's home run broke an 0-for-14 skid . . . Matsuzaka has a 6.98 ERA in three starts against the Yankees. "Each hitter in their lineup is very highly skilled," he said . . . Sox chairman Tom Werner is scheduled to attend tonight's Red Sox Foundation event at Sonny McLean's, the Sox hangout in Santa Monica, Calif. The evening will include live music, celebrity bartenders, and a silent auction. Proceeds go to the Red Sox Foundation. For information, visit www.sonnymcleans.com.

Gordon Edes can be reached at edes@globe.com.

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