BRADENTON, Fla. -- Red Sox slugger Manny Ramirez wasn't scheduled to accompany the Red Sox to Wednesday's road game in Bradenton. But there he was, on the bus and in the lineup.
"He said he was bored and wanted to play," said Francona.
Ramirez singled and drew two walks in three plate appearances. He also scored a run and drove in a run. Ramirez will be back on the bus for Thursday's game in Clearwater.
Though Ramirez is still staying mum around most reporters, he had some unusually candid thoughts in Wednesday's Boston Herald. Among other things, Ramirez told the newspaper that he'll be "fine" staying in Boston over the final two years of his contract.
"I got two years left, and that's it," Ramirez said. "That's the end of the story. I'm going to move on. I'm going to play, probably somewhere else. But don't worry, I'm going to be fine here. I'm not going to leave $35 million on the table."
As for his perceived unhappiness with the city of Boston and the lack of privacy that comes with playing in such a fishbowl?
"Boston is cool. I don't have a problem outside with anybody," Ramirez said.
Drew game-ready: The Red Sox have 10 more exhibition games before opening their season. Right fielder J.D. Drew probably wishes there were about 10 less than that.
The left-handed hitter continues to rip the baseball. With a 2-for-3 performance on Wednesday, Drew is hitting .464 with a homer and seven RBIs.
"He's been tremendous," Francona said. "He's been good, and it
bodes well for the season just because the way he's hitting -- that left-field wall's going to look very near him."
Lester gets work in: Left-hander Jon Lester started for Triple-A Pawtucket in a game against Rochester on Wednesday, giving up six hits and three earned runs over two innings. Lester walked one, struck out one and gave up a homer.
Dinner plans: Sox pitchers Daisuke Matsuzaka and Hideki Okajima did not take the bus back to Fort Myers after Wednesday's game. Instead, they went out to dinner with fellow Japanese pitcher Masumi Kuwata, who is trying to break into the Major Leagues at the age of 39.
Coming up: The Red Sox can rest their bullpen for Thursday's 1:05 p.m. ET contest in Clearwater against the Phillies. Starting pitchers Tim Wakefield and Jonathan Papelbon will split up the outing. Wakefield is scheduled to go five innings and Papelbon is expected to finish out the game from there.
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.