Spring Training Notebook

Red Sox Closer Jonathan Papelbon Says Manny Ramírez Was a Cancer

Associated Press
Friday, March 13, 2009

Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon compared former teammate Manny Ramírez to cancer, saying Boston made the right decision when it traded the slugging left fielder to the Dodgers last summer.

"He was on a different train! And you saw what happened with that. We got rid of him, and we moved on without him," Papelbon was quoted in the April issue of Esquire. The story was posted on the magazine's Web site yesterday.

"So Manny was tough for us," Papelbon added. "You have somebody like him, you know at any point in the ballgame, he can dictate the outcome of the game. And for him not to be on the same page as the rest of the team was a killer, man! It just takes one guy to bring an entire team down, and that's exactly what was happening.

"Once we saw that, we weren't afraid to get rid of him. It's like cancer. That's what he was. Cancer. He had to go."

Manager Terry Francona didn't condone Papelbon's remarks, while noting the closer usually says what's on his mind.

"That's Pap's personality," Francona said in Jupiter, Fla., before the Red Sox played the Cardinals. "The one thing we don't ever want is somebody criticizing their own teammates. They know that."

Red Sox prospect Jonathan Van Every, meantime, left the exhibition game against St. Louis after spraining his right ankle running the bases in the fifth inning.

-- DODGERS: Ramírez was scratched from his first scheduled spring training start because of tightness in his left hamstring.

Ramírez had been in the lineup as a designated hitter for the Dodgers' exhibition against South Korea. He was replaced by Mark Loretta.

Ramírez has been working out with Los Angeles since agreeing last week to a two-year, $45 million contract.

Meantime, General Manager Ned Colletti said he is "curious" about the possibility of filling the team's fifth spot in the rotation with free agent right-hander Pedro Martínez.

Martínez pitched six innings of one-hit ball for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic last week.

-- RAYS: Outfielder Fernando Pérez will be sidelined for at least three months after dislocating his left wrist while diving in an attempt to catch a sinking line drive in a game against the Blue Jays.

Pérez was injured Tuesday in an unsuccessful attempt to catch a drive hit by Toronto's Travis Snider. The diagnosis was not confirmed until yesterday.

-- CUBS: Carlos Zambrano was selected to make his fifth straight Opening Day start for Chicago.

Manager Lou Piniella said he picked Zambrano over Ryan Dempster for the April 6 start against Houston after discussing the choice with pitching coach Larry Rothschild.

-- METS: Ace Johan Santana made his spring debut after pushing back his first start because of elbow tightness.

Santana gave up four hits and three runs, including a homer to Dan Uggla, in 2 2/3 innings against the Marlins. He struck out two and hit a batter in his first game action since having offseason knee surgery.

Santana needed just 10 pitches to get through a perfect first inning.

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