Red Sox owner John W. Henry said yesterday that Manny Ramirez, who received permission to delay reporting to the Sox until March 1, will not play in the World Baseball Classic.
"We want to support the baseball classic," Henry said, "but it's actually a plus for us that he's coming here March 1 and not playing there."
Henry added that the team did not ask Manny to pull out of the event.
Henry also revealed he met with Ramírez a couple of weeks ago and found it ''amazing it didn't get out." Henry refused to say if Ramírez had rescinded his trade request.
Union chief Gene Orza, meanwhile, said that Ramirez ''coming to [Sox] camp March 1 doesn't bode well for Manny's participation" in the WBC. But Orza also said he spoke with one of Ramírez's representatives as late as Wednesday, ''and he hasn't ruled out playing."
''I have not spoken with Manny himself," Orza said. ''I'm aware of the circumstances, though, and I've spoken to people who represent him. Obviously, the Dominican team would like to have him play, but that's his decision to make.
''I will probably talk to Manny at some point, but I have spoken to his representatives, and they know how I feel about the matter."
If Ramirez had played in the WBC (he was listed on the Dominican Republic team’s provisional roster), he would have had to report to the Dominican team on March 2, meaning he would have spent exactly one day in Sox camp before March 20, when the event ends. Instead, it appears Ramirez will spend the entire month of March with the Red Sox in Fort Myers.
Ramirez’s intentions regarding the WBC were unclear as of Wednesday night, when Manny Acta -- manager of the team representing the Dominican Republic -- said he had not been able to contact Ramirez to learn whether he planned to play.
''We haven't been able to talk to Manny," Acta, who is also third base coach for the New York Mets, wrote in an e-mail.
Even before yesterday’s comments from Henry, there were strong indications that Ramirez had informed the Sox he was withdrawing from the WBC and would spend March in Fort Myers.