07/12/2003 8:59 PM ET
Ramirez to relinquish All-Star spot
Tight hamstring to force OF from All-Star Game
Rosters: AL | NL
By Ian Browne / MLB.com
DETROIT -- With Manny Ramirez's tight left hamstring leaving him gimpy, the star left fielder of the Red Sox has opted to relinquish his spot on the American League All-Star team.
Ramirez was voted in by the fans as a starting outfielder, but didn't think it would be fair to the Red Sox or Major League Baseball to take up a coveted roster spot when he's less than 100 percent.
"It's disappointing to not be able to go to the All-Star Game, but this is for the best," said Ramirez, who made the decision prior to Saturday night's game against the Tigers. "My priority is to try to help the Red Sox win, and I need to take care of this injury so it does not become something that will bother me for the rest of the season."
In both Friday and Saturday's games in Detroit, Ramirez was hobbled enough that he couldn't play the outfield. Red Sox manager Grady Little inserted him as the designated hitter both nights.
"I am grateful to the fans who voted me onto the team and I hope to return to the All-Star Game in the future," said Ramirez, who is hitting .321 with 21 homers and 69 RBIs.
White Sox outfielder Magglio Ordonez was named Ramirez's replacement for the Midsummer Classic, which takes place Tuesday night at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago.
The state of Ramirez's hamstrings is anything but trivial. They have bothered him at times throughout the years, never more seriously than in 2000, his final season with the Indians.
It was also the left hamstring that bothered him that season, forcing him to spend 44 days on the disabled list and miss 39 games.
The Indians missed the playoffs by one game that year. Little, the bench coach for Cleveland in 2000, isn't in the mood for another situation like that.
"Our main concern is having him available to play for us right now and trying to win these games," Little said. "At the same time, we're looking out for his well being. We don't want to blow him out for two or three weeks. It's the same hamstring he had trouble with in Cleveland."
In 2001, Ramirez's first 55 starts in a Red Sox uniform were in the DH slot. The culprit? Hamstring woes. He missed seven games in August, 2001, with more hamstring issues.
Last year, Ramirez's legs didn't keep him off the field, but he instead missed 39 games from a fractured left finger.
"We experienced that last year," said Little, whose 2002 Red Sox won 93 games and didn't make the playoffs. "We don't need to experience that again."
At this point, the injury is serious enough that Little concedes he will have no choice but to pinch-run for Ramirez if he is on base with a crucial run-scoring opportunity in the late innings.
"He wasn't running well last night," Little said. "His swing was fine. It's just the running and the cutting that you have to watch out for."
Watching out for himself, his team and the All-Star Game, Ramirez will use the All-Star break to rest his legs.
Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not
subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its