Red Sox slugger Ramirez sidelined with strained muscle on left side

NEW YORK -- Manny Ramirez was not in Boston's starting
lineup Wednesday night because of a strained muscle on his left
side, and the Red Sox slugger likely will be sidelined for several

Ramirez came out of Tuesday night's game against the New York
Yankees in the seventh inning after aggravating the injury. He was
examined by two doctors Wednesday and wasn't sure how long he might
be out.

"I don't know. Maybe a week?" Ramirez said.

Red Sox manager Terry Francona acknowledged Ramirez almost
certainly would miss the final two games of the Yankees series and
probably won't be available until at least Friday night against

"I hate to say he's not going to play before we need to, but
that's realistic," Francona said. "He showed up early today --
pretty sore. It's not worse than he was yesterday, which is good."

Eric Hinske started in left field for the Red Sox and batted
ninth. Mike Lowell moved up to the cleanup spot. Boston began the
night with a seven-game lead in the AL East over the Yankees.

Ramirez hit his 20th homer of the season in the series opener
Tuesday. He is batting .292 with 86 RBIs and 32 doubles.

Ramirez, who grew up near Yankee Stadium, has always been a
nemesis for New York. He is hitting .479 with 11 home runs and 30
RBIs in 27 games against the Yankees since the start of 2006.

He also has 52 career homers against New York, tied with Red Sox
Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski for fourth-most by a Yankees

New York manager Joe Torre said facing the Red Sox without
Ramirez makes "a huge difference."

"There's two reasons: First of all, you don't have Manny. And
then you don't have Manny sitting behind [David] Ortiz," Torre

Ramirez was replaced in left field Tuesday night by Bobby Kielty, who was then removed in the eighth inning due to a sore
lower back.

Kielty had X-rays on Wednesday, which were negative. His back
has been bothering him since he crashed into the low fence at
Fenway Park to make a terrific catch against the Los Angeles Angels
on Aug. 19.

"If he needed to play tonight he could, but we'd rather not,"
Francona said. "There are days like today when you are glad to
have Hinske."