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Thursday, June 13
Updated: June 14, 2:44 PM ET
Ramirez hitless in first rehab start

Associated Press

PAWTUCKET, R.I. -- Boston Red Sox outfielder Manny Ramirez tested his left index finger Thursday night at the start of a four-game rehabilitation assignment with the team's Triple-A affiliate.

Ramirez, sidelined since breaking the finger May 11, said he wanted to face live pitching in game situations before returning to the Red Sox.

``It was my idea. The team wanted me to go to Atlanta. I wanted to come down here and see what I can do,'' he said after batting practice for the game against the Richmond Braves. ``I wanted to see how it feels in the game.''

Ramirez said his finger felt fine after taking about 35 practice swings. He is taping his bat to make his grip more comfortable, and said the only pain he feels is when he catches fly balls.

Ramirez was expected to play two games as designated hitter and two in the outfield, then return to the Red Sox in time for a three-game series in San Diego beginning Tuesday.

Batting third for Pawtucket, Ramirez was 0-for-4. He struck out swinging in his first two at-bats, fouled out, then struck out looking.

Richmond won the game 5-0.

Boston was off Thursday before starting a road trip to Atlanta, San Diego and Los Angeles, NL parks where Ramirez would have to play the field.

Ramirez, whose .372 batting average was the best in the AL when he was hurt, was injured when he banged his finger against the shinguard of Seattle catcher Dan Wilson while sliding headfirst into home plate.

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