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Manny, Youkilis engage in dugout debate

Manny, Youkilis engage in dugout debate

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BOSTON -- A couple of innings after being involved in a fracas with the Tampa Bay Rays, the Red Sox were suddenly fighting each other. Well, at least two of them were.

Just as the bottom of the fourth inning came to an end and the Red Sox were about to go play defense, first baseman Kevin Youkilis and star slugger Manny Ramirez had to be separated after a heated dugout exchange in Thursday's eventual 7-1 win over the Rays.

Television replays showed Ramirez and Youkilis yelling at each other and Ramirez then being escorted to the tunnel by trainer Paul Lessard.

Another camera shot -- taken from a background angle -- had grainy footage in which Ramirez could be seen taking a swing at Youkilis.

Youkilis and Ramirez were both unavailable for comment after the game. Nobody in the confines of the clubhouse revealed any details.

Ramirez and Youkilis have had a good relationship. In fact, the two players, along with second baseman Dustin Pedroia, worked out together in Arizona nearly every day last winter.

"I really didn't see it," Pedroia said. "I was already running out, I didn't know what happened. We're around each other a lot, but we love each other. We're a team. We'll be fine."

It was a chaotic night for the Red Sox. Coco Crisp charged the mound after being hit by James Shields in the bottom of the second and an altercation ensued.

Perhaps the overall tension caused the sudden friction between Youkilis and Ramirez.

"I think they were just exchanging some views on things," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. "We had a lot of testosterone going tonight. It was kind of a hectic night. Sometimes those things happen. It wasn't really a big deal, and it won't be a big deal. It happens. We'll get by that one. Sometimes things happen and we'll handle it. In fact, it's been handled and we'll move on from that one. It really wasn't that big a deal."

Of bigger consequence for the Red Sox was Ramirez, who got the start at designated hitter, leaving the game in the seventh inning with a sore right hamstring that has been bothering him for the past few weeks.

As for Youkilis, he had to play right field for the final five innings after Jacoby Ellsbury left with an injured right wrist.

The physical ailments are likely to take longer to heal than any hard feelings between a pair of longtime teammates.

"I don't exactly what happened because I was on the field," Red Sox shortstop Julio Lugo said. "There was a misunderstanding. Manny is a veteran guy who has been here and knows how to handle stuff. I don't know what happened. It happens. Even brothers fight and everything gets back to normal after awhile. You see each other every day, there's a lot of frustration."

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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