Sunday, July 26, 2009

Ramirez upset after going a week without pitching

(This story will appear in Monday's Union Leader.)

Red Sox reliever Ramon Ramirez had a lengthy meeting with pitching coach John Farrell before yesterday’s game to discuss the righty’s dissatisfaction with his role in the bullpen.

“He was asking me how I’m feeling,” Ramirez said. “I said I feel good. I’m just not pitching for a long time. I can’t say I feel good if I’m not pitching. I want to pitch. I know it’s a very good bullpen, you know? But I’m waiting for the manager to let me pitch.”

Ramirez did get into yesterday’s game and got the final two outs of the ninth inning, both line drives to center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury. At the time of the meeting with Farrell, he’d made six appearances in the month of July, second-fewest in the Red Sox bullpen. He’d gone a full week between appearances before getting into Saturday night’s win in the ninth inning.

“He wants to pitch more,” Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. “I love the fact that he wants to pitch more.”

Takashi Saito, who threw two effective innings yesterday, went into the series finale with the Orioles with just four appearances under his belt in July. Manny Delcarmen, Hideki Okajima and Jonathan Papelbon, on the other hand, each had appeared in eight games in the month of July. Delcarmen made four appearances during the five games in which Ramirez did not pitch.

After yesterday’s appearance, Ramirez has a 2.18 ERA in 41 1/3 innings this season, the second-lowest among Red Sox relievers. But after looking almost untouchable in April and May, Ramirez scuffled in mid-June and again in early July; he allowed three runs in his final three appearances before the All-Star break. He then bounced back with a scoreless inning at Toronto on July 18 before his five-game hiatus.

“I’ll keep waiting,” said Ramirez, a native of the Dominican Republic who speaks English with a thick accent. “I can’t control the manager. I can’t control when I’m pitching. But I’m waiting. Sometimes I feel not so happy. I can’t say I’m happy if I’m not.”

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