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Manny an unexpected scratch

Posted by Gordon Edes, Globe Staff  July 23, 2008 02:32 PM

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Manny Ramirez will not be in the starting lineup for this afternoon's series finale in Seattle.

Red Sox manager Terry Francona said Ramirez showed up this morning and said his right knee was sore, an overnight development that the manager said caught him by surprise. The trainers had not communicated any issue to Francona after the game.

"He showed up this morning, I wasn't ready for that,'' Francona said. "He said his right knee hurts.''

Francona then joked, "The (expletive) jaywalking, if you do it right, you won't hurt your knee.''

Ramirez told reporters his knee has been bothering him for about a week.

"I've just been trying to play it out," he said, while jokingly singing for tips at his locker in the clubhouse, with his I-Pod docked to a speaker and a cup out seeking donations from teammates. "I decided it was time to give it a rest."

Asked if he would be ready for the Yankees series, which begins Friday, Ramirez said, "I don't know. I'm day-to-day at this point."

In any event, Kevin Youkilis will be hitting in Ramirez's No. 4 hole today, Sean Casey will DH and Jacoby Ellsbury will be in left field against Felix Hernandez, the Venezuelan right-hander who is the Mariners' best pitcher.

Francona said he had planned on using Casey as DH, anyway, but had envisioned Ramirez in left and Ellsbury in center. Coco Crisp, 1 for 11 against Hernandez in his career, was not scheduled to play, but now will be in center.

Francona elected to keep Jed Lowrie at short instead of Alex Cora, who might have expected to play a day game after a night game. The manager has now started Lowrie in five straight games and praised the way he has performed. He's batting .385 (5 for 13) with 3 RBIs and has played well in the field.

Hernandez will be making his third start since going on the DL after spraining his ankle when Carlos Beltran slid into him in a play at the plate. In his last start, against the Indians July 18, he went six innings, allowing two runs on four hits while whiffing eight. He is 1-1 with a 3.29 ERA in two starts against the Sox this season. He has pitched better against the Sox in Fenway Park (15 scoreless innings) than in Safeco (5.31 ERA, 12 ER in 20 1/3 IP).

Here are the lineups:

Red Sox

Jacoby Ellsbury LF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
J.D. Drew RF
Kevin Youkilis 1B
Mike Lowell 3B
Sean Casey DH
Jed Lowrie SS
Jason Varitek C
Coco Crisp CF

Clay Buchholz P

Mariners

Ichiro Suzuki RF
Jose Lopez 2B
Raul Ibanez LF
Jose Vidro DH
Adrian Beltre 3B
Jeremy Reed CF
Kenji Johjima C
Bryan LaHair 1B
Willie Bloomquist SS

Felix Hernandez P

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

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