Notes: Blurry eye sidelines Manny

Notes: Blurry eye sidelines Manny

BOSTON -- All Red Sox manager Terry Francona had to do was look Manny Ramirez in the eye to tell that his left fielder wouldn't be able to start Thursday afternoon's contest against the Royals.

In the wake of Ramirez's collision with teammate Edgar Renteria in the second inning of Wednesday's game, the slugger's right eye was noticeably red.

"His ribs are OK," said Francona. "I think he's a little sore, but he's OK. His nose is OK. His eye is, it's real red. I don't think it's a scratch. He's got a little bit of blood. He's still seeing not as good. When you walk by him, it's pretty obvious when you see him. But he's doing OK. In saying all that, he's not so much worse for wear, you know what I'm saying."

Still, as a precaution, the Red Sox sent Ramirez back to Mass. General Hospital on Thursday morning for his second eye examination in as many days.

Francona wasn't sure if Ramirez would be cleared for Friday's game against the Twins.

"If he is a little bit blurry or hazy or foggy, we're not going to do that," said Francona. "I think there is a pretty good chance he will be OK."

The good news is that Renteria, who came out of Wednesday's game in the seventh inning with lingering soreness, was recovered enough to start. In fact, the shortstop played one of his best games of the season, driving in four runs.

The Red Sox would have been in a serious bind if Renteria couldn't start because middle infielder Tony Graffanino was unavailable to start as he tended to a personal matter. Alex Cora started at second base.

Schilling in groove: Curt Schilling continues to pitch well out of the bullpen. He has converted eight of nine save opportunities and his right ankle has responded well to a recently heavy workload.

"I'm enjoying the fact that I'm getting out there every night," said Schilling. "I think it's definitely helping from a sharpness standpoint, refining and feeling my pitches."

Schilling looks forward to getting back in the rotation, whenever that might be.

"My preference would be to start, but it's irrelevant to me what my preference is in the grand scheme of things," Schilling said. "I'm under the impression that [Keith Foulke] is doing well and getting better fast. I'm just taking a space in the 'pen and taking up a spot until he's back. If it turns out that he comes back and I stay in the 'pen, so be it. Whatever role [Francona] hands me, I'm going to take the ball and get people out."

Petagine jumps right in: First baseman Roberto Petagine, whose contract was purchased following Wednesday's game so he could fill in for the injured John Olerud, not only arrived but was thrust into the cleanup hole for his Red Sox debut.

In fact, it was Petagine's first game in the Major Leagues since 1998, as he spent six years serving as one of the top sluggers in Japan.

The left-handed hitter had been mashing the ball at Pawtucket since returning from Spring Training knee surgery.

"He's a good hitter. He's a professional hitter," said Francona. "Again, I haven't seen him play. But I've heard a lot of reports, I've heard [Pawtucket manager Ron Johnson] brag about him. But I'm kind of excited to watch him in person, because he looks like he's got himself in real good shape. It will be fun to watch."

Petagine went 0-for-3.

Medical report: Right fielder Trot Nixon continues to rehab from his strained oblique muscle and he'll stay back in Boston this weekend to work with physical therapist Scott Waugh. ... Second baseman Mark Bellhorn (sprained left thumb) continues to progress on his rehab at Triple-A Pawtucket. There's no word yet on when he'll return to the team. ... Foulke remains on track to throw off the mound on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and he might be ready to pitch in a rehab or simulated situation after that.

On deck: Bronson Arroyo (9-6, 4.22 ERA) opens up a three-game series at the Metrodome on Friday night. The Twins, trying to avenge last weekend's sweep at Fenway, send Brad Radke (6-10, 3.88 ERA) to the hill.

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