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Notebook: Ramirez a healthy scratch for Red Sox

| Wednesday, Sept. 3, 2003

CHICAGO -- Manny Ramirez was not in the starting lineup for Tuesday night's game against the Chicago White Sox even though he was healthy enough to play.

Manager Grady Little denied he was punishing his slugger for going out when he was supposed to be sick in bed.

"He is available to DH today, but my decision to wait is: I like the way our club has responded the last few days," Little told reporters before the game. "I'm putting the team out there that I feel gives us the best chance to win."

Asked if Ramirez was being disciplined, Little said: "No, I'm trying to win the game."

Ramirez called in sick for Friday night's game against the New York Yankees and was said to have pharyngitis -- the same ailment that forced pitcher Pedro Martinez to miss a start the previous week. On Saturday, Ramirez went to Fenway Park to see the team's doctor, but was sent back to bed.

On Saturday night, though, Ramirez was seen in the lobby of a Boston hotel with Yankees infielder Enrique Wilson, a former teammate of his from Cleveland. Wilson has confirmed that he was with Ramirez, but said it was only for a few minutes.

On Sunday morning, Ramirez reportedly did not show up at the ballpark to check in with the Red Sox doctors. The 30-year-old outfielder, who is in the third year of an eight-year, $160 million contract, traveled with the team to Philadelphia for the game there Monday but told Little he was still "too weak" to pinch hit.

The Red Sox came back to beat the Phillies, 13-9, with two runs in the eighth and six in the ninth.

While Little said Ramirez's refusal to pinch hit did factor into his decision on yesterday's lineup, teammate David Ortiz defended Ramirez.

"I prefer to have any of the other guys we have who are 100 percent out there ... than have a guy who's sick, who's not feeling good out there," Ortiz said. "He said, 'I'm not the guy who can help you out.'

"Whatever happened with my man yesterday, we won the game still. We just need to look forward."

Little said Ramirez, who is batting .317 with 31 homers and 90 RBI, would return to the lineup "if I think it will help us win the game."

"There are a lot of factors in my decision," Little said. "All of them lead to putting the team on the field that can win the game."

Ramirez was in the clubhouse at U.S. Cellular Field before the game, chatting and listening to a CD player. He didn't speak to reporters.

Asked for Ramirez's reaction to the news that he would be sitting out, Little said, "He's part of a team in there. He knows we're just trying to win the game."

Neither Ramirez's agent, Jeff Moorad, nor Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein immediately returned a call seeking comment.

Red Sox president Larry Lucchino declined to comment, saying only, "We support our manager."

Phillies get reliever De Los Santos

The Philadelphia Phillies bolstered their bullpen, acquiring left-hander Valerio De Los Santos from the Milwaukee Brewers for a player to be named later or cash.

De Los Santos was 3-3 with a 4.13 ERA and one save in 45 games with the Brewers. In 48 innings, he struck out 35 and allowed 38 hits, while holding opponents to a .225 average. Since coming off the disabled list on May 25 (left shoulder tendinitis), De Los Santos has posted a 3.65 ERA in 36 appearances.

De Los Santos is 7-10 with a 4.19 ERA and one save in 183 career games. He had a 3.12 ERA in 51 appearances for Milwaukee last season.

"He gives you some flexibility," Phillies manager Larry Bowa said. "I wouldn't be afraid to bring him against left-handers."

To make room for De Los Santos on the 40-man roster, the Phillies transferred right-handed pitcher David Coggin to the 60-day disabled list.

Higginson drops appeal

Detroit Tigers outfielder Bobby Higginson has dropped his appeal of a two-game suspension from MLB.

Higginson was to begin serving the suspension with last night's game against the Cleveland Indians at Comerica Park.

Higginson and bench coach Kirk Gibson were suspended and fined Aug. 18, following their ejections from an Aug. 10 game against the Minnesota Twins.

Higginson was suspended for two games for "directing inappropriate comments" at umpire Doug Eddings during an argument over balls and strikes and then "through the media following the game," the commissioner's office said. Higginson also was fined $2,000.

Gibson, who was fined an undisclosed amount, served his one-game suspension Aug. 18.

Garcia makes major-league debut

Second baseman Danny Garcia made his major-league debut for the New York Mets last night and singled in his first at-bat against Mike Hampton of the Atlanta Braves.

Along with Victor Diaz, Garcia is one of two second base prospects the Mets are excited about. He batted .263 with four homers, 23 doubles, 54 RBI and 11 steals at Triple-A Norfolk this season. He was hitting .333 in 32 games at Double-A Binghamton before he was promoted.

Umpire injured by foul tip in Mariners-Devil Rays game

Umpire John Hirshbeck left the Seattle Mariners-Tampa Bay Devil Rays game with a bruised lower left rib cage in the third inning after he was hit by a foul tip.

The injury is not considered serious.

The game was delayed 12 minutes after Hirshbeck, the plate umpire, was struck by Bret Boone's foul.

Hirshbeck, a major-league umpire since 1984, dropped to the ground, but was able to walk on his own to the Tampa Bay clubhouse a couple of minutes later.

The Devil Rays left the field as second-base umpire Bill Welke got dressed to replace Hirshbeck behind the plate. The game resumed with a three-man officiating crew.

Roster moves

The Montreal Expos signed right-hander Jose Mercedes and designated left-hander Scott Downs for assignment. ... The Chicago Cubs activated second baseman Mark Grudzielanek and recalled first baseman Hee Seop Choi and right-hander Todd Wellemeyer. ... The Tampa Bay Devil Rays activated infielder Terry Shumpert from the 15-day disabled list. ... The Atlanta Braves began to get some help for their injury-riddled bullpen when reliever Roberto Hernandez was activated from the 15-day disabled list before last night's game against the New York Mets. ... The Kansas City Royals called up left-hander Jimmy Gobble and four other minor leaguers. ... The Chicago White Sox activated former closer Billy Koch from the disabled list before last night's game against the Boston Red Sox. ... The Cincinnati Reds acquired outfielder Eric Valent from the Phillies to complete a trade that sent catcher Kelly Stinnett to Philadelphia on Sunday. ... The Toronto Blue Jays recalled right-handers Brian Bowles and Dan Reichert and infielder Howie Clark from Triple-A Syracuse.

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