Notes: Wilson says Manny's content

Notes: Wilson says Manny's content

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Aside from the fact that Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz likes new teammate Enrique Wilson, he had an even bigger reason to smile when he saw reporters surround him on Thursday.

Ortiz no longer has to be the unofficial spokesperson for Ramirez, at least as long as Wilson, a non-roster invitee, is with the Red Sox.

"This is the guy that you guys can find a lot about Manny [from]," said a grinning Ortiz.

Wilson and Ramirez were teammates from 1997-2000 with the Indians and are fellow Dominicans. They remain "real close, very good friends," according to Wilson. And it didn't take Wilson long to give the inquiring reporters a nugget that had yet to come from anyone else in camp.

"He wants to play here. That's what he told me," said Wilson, who spoke to Ramirez last week.

That was information that nobody else from the Red Sox has come out and said the last few days.

The club still won't say whether Ramirez has rescinded his wish to be traded.

"Did he rescind it?" said Red Sox owner John W. Henry, who met with Ramirez recently. "I don't want to get into the specifics of our conversation. It was a private conversation. If Enrique Wilson said it, we know it's the truth."

Henry was making a lighthearted reference to all the controversy that occurred late in the 2003 season, when Ramirez was apparently too sick to report for a couple of late-season games against the Yankees, but was spotted mingling with Wilson in the lobby of the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Boston.

"We didn't do anything at that time. He just came to my room," Wilson said. "They made a big deal about that. But he didn't do anything. He just went there to the hotel for five minutes and he left. That was it."

As for Wilson, he is no stranger to Red Sox fans after spending three seasons (2002-04) with the Yankees. Aside from his relationship with Ramirez, Wilson was known for wearing out former Red Sox ace Pedro Martinez. Now he's trying to win a job with the team he used to love to beat. It will be tough, as the Red Sox are deep in the infield.

"I know it's going to be tough, but I guess I have to do my job here and see what happens," said Wilson.

Surgery for Wallace? Rumors were circulating throughout camp that pitching coach Dave Wallace, sidelined with a hip infection, underwent hip replacement surgery on Thursday.

"That's what I heard [Thursday], but I don't know," said bullpen coach Al Nipper. "I don't have any idea. I spoke to him right before I came down to camp, but I have not spoken to him since."

The Red Sox said they'd have no update on Wallace until Friday at the earliest.

In the meantime, Nipper, a former pitcher for the Sox, will run the pitching staff until Wallace returns.

"We all feel for him. It's tragic that that happened at that time," said Nipper. "It's a bad situation for him to be in the situation he is in now. But I'm just down here to keep things in line. He put a good program in place, so I'm just trying to carry it out right now. Hopefully, he gets healthy and he gets back down here and is able to carry on the program. I'm just keeping the seat warm for him right now."

Nipper on Rocket: Those who think that Nipper, a longtime friend of former teammate Roger Clemens, has inside information on whether the future Hall of Fame pitcher will pitch in 2006 will be disappointed.

"I have not spoken to him in probably a month-and-a-half or two months, so I'm sure he's probably in pretty good shape, getting ready for the [World Baseball Classic]," said Nipper. "We're all waiting to see how he does in that. He'll make his decision when he's ready to make his decision -- hopefully he'll make a decision that is favorable for the Red Sox."

The Red Sox are one of four teams that Clemens said that he will consider pitching for in '06. The others are the Astros, Rangers and Yankees. In recent weeks, Randy Hendricks, who represents Clemens, said that the most likely option is retirement.

Can the hitters catch up? Friday will be a significant day for 12 Red Sox pitchers, as they will face hitters for the first time this spring. Leading the list is newcomer Josh Beckett. Other noteworthy pitchers who will take the mound are Jonathan Papelbon, Tim Wakefield, Bronson Arroyo and top prospect Jon Lester.

Each pitcher will throw for roughly eight minutes, and somewhere between 40 and 50 pitches.

Camp in full session: Before the first full-squad workout of the spring, Francona held a team meeting that also included the ownership trio of Henry, Larry Lucchino and Tom Werner, as well as general manager Theo Epstein.

"It's just, in a nutshell, to make sure everybody is on the same page, what's expected of them, how we feel about things and things that are important to us, as a ballclub, as a staff, as a team," said Francona. "We do have a lot of new faces. I think it's important that they don't feel new for very long, so that's the whole idea."

Friday's workout will start a half-hour early and will conclude by 11:15 a.m. ET so the players can get to a community golf tournament.

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