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Sunday, May 12
Updated: May 15, 5:21 PM ET
Ramirez's broken finger won't require surgery

Associated Press

BOSTON -- Manny Ramirez doesn't need surgery on the broken finger that will sideline him at least four weeks but the injury will be monitored to see if the fracture spreads.

Manny Ramirez
Left Field
Boston Red Sox
33 9 35 27 0 .372

The determination was made after the Red Sox outfielder, injured in Seattle on Saturday night in a headfirst slide into home, had a CT scan Monday at Saint Elizabeth's Hospital in Boston. Ramirez, the AL's batting leader, plans to get a second opinion Tuesday in Miami from Dr. John Urive.

Dr. Bill Morgan, the Red Sox team physician, doesn't believe surgery is needed now on the left index finger, Boston interim general manager Mike Port said Monday.

"However, Dr. Morgan advised it will be important for Manny to be monitored carefully as there is still the possibility that the fracture could further 'migrate,"' Port said in a statement.

Morgan recommended that Ramirez's finger be placed in a splint. He stuck with the original estimate of four to six weeks on the sidelines.

Ramirez was placed on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday prior to Boston's home game against the Oakland Athletics. The team called up infielder Bryant Nelson from Pawtucket to replace Ramirez. Nelson, 28, was hitting .319 with six home runs and 15 RBI in 33 games this season.

The injury leaves the team with baseball's best record without its cleanup hitter going into a tough 13-game homestand and gives Rickey Henderson what he had been clamoring for, more playing time. He will take over for Ramirez in left field.

"I never wanted Manny to get hurt because he's a big part of this club," said Henderson, batting .260 in 16 games. "But once he got hurt, I got to step in and take his place. The most important thing is we have to continue playing as a team."

The Red Sox are 25-9 and lead the majors with a .303 batting average. So they have plenty of hitters, including Nomar Garciaparra and Jason Varitek. Both were sidelined most of last season with injuries.

Garciaparra, the AL batting leader in 1999 and 2000, played just 21 games after undergoing wrist surgery on Opening Day. Varitek played only 51 games because of a broken elbow. And shoulder problems limited three-time Cy Young award winner Pedro Martinez to seven wins and 18 games.

Now the Red Sox must go on without another injured star. Ramirez is batting .372 with nine homers and 35 RBI, but they won their first game without him, 10-4 Sunday night in Seattle, to end their road trip at 8-2.

Henderson went 2-for-5 with two runs and an RBI as the leadoff hitter and left fielder.

Ramirez was hurt in the second inning of Saturday night's 3-1 loss when he tried to score from first on Shea Hillenbrand's double. Third base coach Mike Cubbage waved him home, but he jammed his left hand into catcher Dan Wilson's shin guard.

The Red Sox were off Monday then play Oakland, Seattle, the Chicago White Sox and the New York Yankees at home.

"Manny is the man. He's our superstar," said Brian Daubach, who batted fourth in Ramirez's place Sunday. "But we've had a lot of other guys swinging the bat well, too. Nomar's healthy. Jason's healthy. We're still strong."

The Red Sox have scored at least 10 runs in seven of their 34 games. Their solid pitching could keep carry them without Ramirez's offensive production.

Martinez is 5-0 and Derek Lowe, a former All-Star closer, is 5-1 with a 2.15 earned-run average, second in the AL.

"Manny will be a big hole in any team," Martinez said, "but we have to go forward and leave Manny behind for a little while and continue to try to pick up the team however we can. We have good enough talent to continue to win ballgames without Manny."

His absence may help the Yankees, who trail the Red Sox by three games in the AL East.

"We've got a good bench," Varitek said. "Not that you can replace Manny. You can't. Just like we couldn't replace Nomar, but we've got to survive without him."

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