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NOTES

No Surprise, Ramirez Decides to Skip Game

July 11, 2006|Tim Brown | Times Staff Writer

PITTSBURGH — Manny Ramirez played 19 innings for the Boston Red Sox on Sunday in Chicago, then, as planned, skipped the All-Star game because, basically, he doesn't do All-Star games.

No one seemed exceptionally surprised or miffed, because it's a Manny thing, and there's a pretty good chance if his knee wasn't sore, he'd find something else that ached for a few days.

Manager Ozzie Guillen replaced him in the American League's starting lineup with Toronto's Vernon Wells, and on the roster with Detroit's Magglio Ordonez, and everybody moved on.

"I tip my hat to him, because I think he was 0 for 6," Guillen said of the Sunday marathon the White Sox won, 6-5, against the Red Sox. (Actually, it was one for eight.)

"You know what, I respect his opinion," Guillen said. "I respect the Boston Red Sox.... I talked to Tito [Terry Francona] and a couple of guys. And [Manny] was limping around, but that's the way he's walking, that's the way he runs and I don't know whether it's true or not.... But I don't worry about the outfielders. I have plenty of those."

David Ortiz, Ramirez's teammate, smiled from behind dark sunglasses, hours after his first half ended with nine plate appearances against the White Sox.

"If you're just going to walk away and not do what you have to do here, then people are going to think the rest of the game is chill time," he said, speaking generally. "That's not what it is. This is something where you have all the good players having a good season, that all the people want to see come together, like a masterpiece."

Asked what that might say about Ramirez, Ortiz shook his head and said, "I'm not going to make a comment about it. Manny's a grown man. He makes his own decisions. I don't know."

On the field before the home run derby, former Pirates manager Chuck Tanner mentioned no players by name, but did observe, "Anybody who doesn't want to come participate, they'll be sorry 20 years from now.... It's their loss."

*

Twins rookie Francisco Liriano, who finished behind A.J. Pierzynski in the AL final-man vote, was added to Guillen's roster when it was determined White Sox right-hander Jose Contreras would be unable to pitch tonight. Contreras started and threw 116 pitches in Sunday's 19-inning win against the Red Sox.

Mets shortstop Jose Reyes, who needed seven stitches to close a wound on his left pinkie, was replaced by Cardinals shortstop David Eckstein. Reyes was chosen as a starter in fan balloting, and will be replaced in the lineup by Braves shortstop Edgar Renteria. Mets left-hander Tom Glavine, who had been considered as a possible National League starter but pitched 6 1/3 innings Sunday against the Marlins, was replaced by Brewers left-hander Chris Capuano.

*

The Toronto Blue Jays arrived at the break having lost two of four games to the Kansas City Royals and five of eight overall, and with their general manager unhappy with their effort.

"It's a joke," J.P. Ricciardi told the Toronto Sun.

He singled out "our 3-4-5 guys," which would be Shea Hillenbrand and All-Stars Wells and Troy Glaus, along with starters Casey Janssen and Ty Taubenheim, as, "killing us."

Over the weekend, Wells asked to appear on a postgame television show, where he said the players and coaches wouldn't be pointing fingers, even if the GM would be.

On Monday afternoon, both said they didn't believe the incident would prove to be counterproductive in the second half, which starts with them trailing the Red Sox by five games and the Yankees by two. "Some things I felt needed to be said," Wells said, "just to defend my teammates." Wells said he has not spoken to Ricciardi since the quotes were passed around the Blue Jays clubhouse.

*

Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard made certain his first trip to the All-Star game would be a memorable one, beating out the New York Mets' David Wright to win the home run derby.

After homering into the Allegheny River earlier, the 2005 NL rookie of the year's fifth and decisive homer in the championship round banged off a "Hit It Here" sign above the right-field stands to give a lucky fan 500 free round-trip air tickets.

Wright, with Mets catcher Paul Lo Duca throwing to him, had a big edge after the first round with 16, or six more than any other competitor. But he had only six in the next two rounds, and Howard won the final with extra at-bats to spare.

*

In his season out of baseball, Lou Piniella was the Dodgers' first choice to be their manager, met with the Cincinnati Reds' owner in the off-season when Jerry Narron's job seemed tenuous, and in recent weeks has been identified as a candidate for potential openings in Chicago, Philadelphia, Seattle and Washington.

Piniella, appearing fit and tan, said he's quite content on the golf course, in the television broadcast booth, and sitting on his couch.

"I'll tell you this," he said, "don't believe everything you read."

**

THE FACTS

* What: 77th All-Star game, National League vs.

American League. NL leads series, 40-34-2.

* When: Tonight, 5, Channel 11

* Where: PNC Park, Pittsburgh

* Managers: Ozzie Guillen, Chicago, American League

Phil Garner, Houston, National League

*

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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