Red Sox OF Manny Ramirez broke his silence yesterday on the trade talks surrounding him, interrupting the manager's morning news briefing to say, "I want to be with this team and win another World Series."

In a bizarre scene -- even for the ever-tumultuous Red Sox -- 1B Kevin Millar led Ramirez into Manager Terry Francona's office before the game against the Twins and said Manny had decided to talk.

"I'm just here to play and win. I'm a gangster," he said about four hours before the non-waiver trading deadline. "I'm still here. I'm here to win. I'm here to help this team win for 2005."

Ramirez was not in the lineup for yesterday's game against the Twins but had a go-ahead, pinch-hit single in the eighth inning.

It was the second consecutive game he has sat out to "clear his head." Francona said he thought the time off was working.

"You see him. He looks okay," the manager said. "He looks like he's handling things he wasn't handling a couple days ago."

Francona told reporters that Ramirez wanted to speak to the media with him to dispel reports that they didn't get along.

"Manny and I wanted to have an opportunity where me and him were together, so people don't think we're going to kill each other," Francona said. "He really wanted to speak to you guys with me. I think it was pretty cool."

Ramirez signed an eight-year, $160 million contract after the 2000 season. But the contract has become a burden for a team trying to remain in contention and under budget.

The Red Sox had been in talks for a three-team deal that would send Ramirez to the Mets, but those talks stalled over New York's insistence that Boston take on a large part of the slugger's salary. This could be the last chance for Boston to unload him, because after the season he will have the right to veto any trade.

* WHITE SOX GET BLUM: Chicago, looking to strengthen its infield depth and add a reliable backup for 3B Joe Crede, acquired IF Geoff Blum from the Padres for minor league LHP Ryan Meaux.

Blum, a switch hitter, batted .241 with five home runs and 22 RBI in 78 games with San Diego this season.

* YANKEES TOP ANGELS: Jason Giambi hit two home runs, and Tony Womack had an 11th-inning single that gave New York an 8-7 win over visiting Los Angeles.

Hideki Matsui tripled off the center field fence against Kevin Gregg to start the 11th, and Angels Manager Mike Scioscia brought Chone Figgins in from center field to give his team five infielders. But Womack, who entered as a pinch runner in the 10th, grounded a one-out single through the left side to end the game.

-- From News Services

Boston's Manny Ramirez, above, and Manager Terry Francona cleared the air after days of trade talks involving the slugger.