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Sunday, July 27, 2008
Updated: July 28, 9:47 PM ET
Ramirez says he won't object to any trade from Red Sox

By Enrique Rojas
ESPNdeportes.com

Once again, Manny Ramirez is unhappy with the Boston Red Sox.

"I'm tired of them. They're tired of me," Ramirez said, according to The Associated Press, before Sunday night's 9-2 victory over the New York Yankees.

In an interview with ESPNdeportes.com earlier Sunday, Ramirez said he will not block a trade if the Red Sox want to go in that direction.

"If the Red Sox are a better team without Manny Ramirez, they should trade me; I will not object," he said.

"I don't have any preferences. I could choose a team that offers me the best conditions or one in the chase for the postseason. I don't care where I play, I can even play in Iraq if need be. My job is to play baseball," Ramirez added.

I don't have any preferences: I could choose a team that offers me the best conditions or one in the chase for the postseason. I don't care where I play, I can even play in Iraq if need be. My job is to play baseball.

-- Manny Ramirez

Red Sox owner John Henry, in an e-mail to The Associated Press, responded, "We are concentrating on one thing -- a playoff spot."

General manager Theo Epstein echoed those thoughts.

"Our focus is on this team -- which is in the middle of a pennant race -- and in any case it would be premature to comment now on an offseason contractual issue," Epstein said.

Ramirez is hitting .302 with 16 home runs and 65 RBIs this season. He returned to the Red Sox lineup Saturday to face the Yankees after missing the two previous games with pain in his right knee.

Manager Terry Francona and Red Sox officials spoke with Ramirez on Friday after the results of tests on both his knees revealed no injuries.

There were reports in the Boston media that the team was planning to take disciplinary action against Ramirez if he did not return to the lineup for the last two games of the series against the Yankees.

It also was suggested during the weekend that Red Sox management might evaluate the idea of trading Ramirez before Thursday's deadline.

Ramirez, 36, is in the last season of the eight-year, $168 million contract he signed with Boston in December 2000. The Red Sox have two options of $20 million each, meaning that the club has the choice of signing him at $20 million for next year and, if the Sox take this option, at $20 million again for 2010 (otherwise, he becomes a free agent).

"If they can get a trade, I'd approve it. If they can't trade me, then they will simply have to inform me by the end of the season that they won't use the options and we'll go separate ways," said Ramirez, who must approve any trade because of his 10-5 status (10 years in the major leagues, the past five with the same team).

"I don't want to be a problem and a distraction to the Red Sox in such a critical moment of the season," Ramirez said. "I want to help the team, even if that means I have to go."

Francona said before Sunday's game that he wasn't aware of the ESPNdeportes interview. And he didn't know whether Ramirez was in a good mood.

"I'm not sure that matters," Francona said. "I'd take a guy that's hitting .500 that's miserable as opposed to a guy that hands out bouquets to his teammates and is hitting a buck 45. ... You move on. The goal is to get better from it. I think we've done a good job of that here."

Regarding his knee problems, Ramirez said he thinks he's dealing with tendinitis and denied he is faking injuries.

"I'm a ballplayer with more than 500 home runs and almost 2,000 RBIs. I'm a professional. I don't know how anybody can say I could be making it all up," said Ramirez, who has 509 home runs and 1,669 RBIs in 16 seasons.

Ramirez is convinced that all the fuss surrounding his injury and his contractual situation is part of a Red Sox campaign to portray him as the "bad guy."

"The Yankees are getting closer and getting stronger, while we haven't done much," Ramirez said. "I could say that right now there's a strange atmosphere in our team."

Enrique Rojas is a reporter for ESPNdeportes.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.