BOSTON (AP) – Manny Ramirez wore dark glasses and gave the thumbs-up sign on his way out of the Boston Red Sox clubhouse Thursday as he headed to the bus to start the trip to Minnesota.

Manager Terry Francona said there’s a chance Ramirez could play there tonight after he missed Thursday’s 11-9 victory over the Kansas City Royals because of blurry vision caused by a collision the previous night with teammate Edgar Renteria.

“If he is a little bit blurry or hazy or foggy, we’re not going to” let him play, Francona said after the game. “I think there is a pretty good chance he will be OK.”

Ramirez was examined after the collision Wednesday night and returned to Massachusetts General Hospital on Thursday to be re-examined.

He needed a day off, Francona said, “but I think as far as the future, he’s all right.”

First baseman Roberto Petagine, called up Thursday from Triple-A Pawtucket, was in Ramirez’s cleanup spot and went 0-for-3 with a walk. Petagine, second in the International League with a .327 batting average, took the place on the 25-man roster of first baseman John Olerud, who went on the 15-day disabled list Thursday with a strained left hamstring.

Left-hander Chris Narveson was designated for assignment to make room for Petagine on the 40-man roster.

Renteria played Thursday and went 3-for-4 with two doubles and four RBIs.

Ramirez’s collision with the Red Sox shortstop in the second inning of Boston’s 8-5 win left him with bruises on the right side of his chest and face and a bloody nose. An examination showed no structural damage to the right eye, although the inside of it was red, Francona said.

“His ribs are OK. He’s a little sore, but he’s OK,” Francona said. “His eye is real red. I don’t think it’s a scratch. I think it’s just got a little blood.”

Ramirez caught Ruben Gotay’s fly ball to short left field that ended the second inning and collided with Renteria, who was also running for the ball. Both Boston players were on the ground for several minutes before walking off the field.

“It looked worse to me than what happened,” Francona said. “Our left field’s so shallow. Those balls fall in in almost every other ballpark unless the shortstop can get to it.”

With both players going for the ball, communication between them is “out the window,” he said.

Ramirez had hit his AL-leading 30th homer in the first inning and leads the majors with 100 RBIs.

Renteria stayed in the game until the seventh when sore ribs led Francona to use pinch hitter Doug Mirabelli in his place.

Olerud’s injury left a roster vacancy for Petagine.

“I would be surprised if it would be more than 15 days,” said Olerud, who went on the disabled list retroactive to Aug. 1. “Talking to the trainers, they all feel like it’s mild. I don’t feel like it’s a bad pull.”

He’s batting .287 with three homers and 18 RBIs in 49 games with Boston.

Petagine, 34, signed a minor league contract with the Red Sox on Feb. 8 after playing six years in Japan. He was sidelined early in camp by a torn meniscus in his left knee and underwent surgery March 15.

At Pawtucket, Petagine had 20 homers and 69 RBIs in 74 games. He leads the International League in on-base and slugging percentage.

“Rather than change everybody” in the lineup, Francona said, he just slipped Petagine into Ramirez’s spot. “This guy’s a professional hitter.”

Petagine last played in the majors with Cincinnati on Sept. 27, 1998. In five major league seasons, he also spent time with Houston, San Diego and the New York Mets, playing a total of 193 games.

AP-ES-08-04-05 1902EDT


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