BOSTON – White Sox slugger Manny Ramirez took the blame Friday for his rocky departure from Boston and said he would have joined the Red Sox if they had claimed him when he was placed on waivers this month.
Ramirez was back in Boston for the first time since the Los Angeles Dodgers handed him over to Chicago on Tuesday in a waiver deal. But the opener of the weekend series at Fenway Park was postponed because of the threat of severe weather from Hurricane Earl and will be made up in a day-night doubleheader Saturday.
The Red Sox traded Ramirez to the Dodgers on July 31, 2008, after the enigmatic outfielder made it clear he wanted out of Boston. He made critical comments about the franchise and there were reports of at least two physical confrontations, one with teammate Kevin Youkilis and another with team traveling secretary Jack McCormick.
Ramirez told a group of reporters Friday that he apologized to Youkilis when he returned to Boston in June with Los Angeles.
"I said, 'Hey, what happened between you and me, I'm sorry. It was my fault,'" Ramirez said, according to The Boston Globe. "It takes a real man to go and tell a person, 'Hey, it was my fault,' and that's what I did."
Ramirez batted .312 with 274 homers and 868 RBIs in 7½ seasons with the Red Sox. He was the first World Series MVP in Red Sox history, earning the honor in 2004 when Boston won the title for the first time since 1918; he was also a key part of the team that won it in '07.
But his antics were just as outsized as his statistics.
He high-fived a fan in Baltimore — after making a leaping catch, but before throwing the ball in to finish a double play. Against the Angels, he dived for a fly then rolled onto the ball that had fallen in front of him. By the time he retrieved it, Maicer Izturis had a triple. He cut off a throw — in shallow left — from center fielder Johnny Damon.
A few days before the 2008 trading deadline, he told the team he couldn't play because of a knee problem but couldn't say which knee was hurt. MRIs showed no damage. A few days later he was traded to the Dodgers in a six-player, three-team deal that brought Jason Bay to Boston.
"I think everything was my fault," Ramirez said. "You've got to be a real man to realize when you do wrong. Hey, it was my fault, right? I'm already past that stage. I'm happy. I'm in a new team."
The 38-year-old Ramirez batted .311 with eight homers and 40 RBIs in 66 games with the Dodgers this season, but was on the disabled list from July 20 to Aug. 20 with a right calf strain and missed 33 games. He went 1 for 3 in his first game for the White Sox, a 6-4 win at Cleveland on Wednesday.
Ramirez's return to Fenway is an intriguing subplot to a key series between the AL contenders.
The pitching rotation remains the same with Friday's scheduled starters, Chicago's John Danks (12-9) and Boston's Clay Buchholz (15-5), scheduled for the first game and Gavin Floyd (9-11) slated to face Red Sox right-hander John Lackey (12-8) in the second.