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Report: Manny says he's open to a trade

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff  July 27, 2008 05:54 PM

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Manny Ramirez told ESPNdeportes.com Sunday he would not be opposed to a trade from the Red Sox, according to the website.

"If the Red Sox are a better team without Manny Ramirez, they should trade me," Ramirez told the website. "I will not object."

The ESPNdeportes interview contains Ramirez's strongest comments since this weekend's controversy began.

"I don't have any preferences," Ramirez told the website. "I could choose a team that offers me the best conditions or one in the chase for the postseason. I don't care where I play, I can even play in Iraq if need be. My job is to play baseball."

After missing Wednesday's game against the Mariners with a sore knee, Ramirez stirred up controversy by taking himself out of the lineup before Friday night's game against the Yankees. The team order MRIs on both of Ramirez's knees (which came back clean) and also called a closed-door meeting to discuss the situation, with a highly placed source telling the Globe that Ramirez would have been suspended had he requested to sit out Saturday afternoon's game against New York.

"I'm a ballplayer with more than 500 home runs and almost 2,000 RBIs. I'm a professional. I don't know how anybody can say I could be making it all up," Ramirez told ESPNdeportes about his knee injury.

Ramirez was back in the lineup Saturday against the Yankees. Francona addressed the situation, telling reporters, "This week, you know what, we had some misunderstandings. There's no way getting around that. It doesn't mean he's a bad person. We expect a lot; again when things don't go right, we try to make them right.

"We've run into bumps in the road ever since I've been here and there have been some before I've been here," Francona said. "The result of two of the times has been a World Series ring. As a team, sometimes you fight through things, sometimes you work through things. It's not always perfect, but how you get to the end is what counts and that's what we're trying to do."

The Red Sox hold a $20 million option on the 36-year-old slugger for each of the next two seasons.

"If they can get a trade, I'd approve it. If they can't trade me, then they will simply have to inform me by the end of the season that they won't use the options and we'll go separate ways," said Ramirez, who must approve any trade.

"I don't want to be a problem and a distraction to the Red Sox in such a critical moment of the season. I want to help the team, even if that means I have to go...The Yankees are getting closer and getting stronger, while we haven't done much. I could say that right now there's a strange atmosphere in our team."

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