Ramirez had the knee bandaged up in the hours leading up to the game. Though Ramirez had been bothered by right hamstring woes in recent weeks, the knee hadn't been any kind of issue since 2006, when he had meniscus problems.
The left fielder didn't seem overly worried about the ailment, saying he was "day-to-day".
"Sore right knee," said Francona. "We'll get him checked out, get some ice on him, let the medical people examine him. We were actually going to have Case [Sean Casey] DH anyway, we had Manny in left. That obviously wasn't going to work. So we moved Coco [Crisp] out there and see if we can catch em all and maybe Case will get a couple of knocks."
The injury was nowhere on Francona's radar before Wednesday.
"He just showed up this morning. We were kind of, weren't ready for that," Francona said. "He came in and said, 'My right knee hurts.' There was nothing on the report last night. I didn't come in waiting for that one, so it must have gotten tight overnight."
Will Ramirez return Friday night against the Yankees, when fellow slugger David Ortiz is expected to make his anticipated return?
"I don't know," Francona said. "This literally was about a half hour ago. Let's get him checked out. I don't really have a good answer for that. I hope so."
As for Ortiz, his lethal bat is all but certain to be in Francona's lineup Friday for the first time since May 31.
"I think we're in pretty good shape there," Francona said. "He'll play tonight [for Double-A Portland], we'll check in with him tomorrow. I think everything is probably in pretty good shape. We'll let it play itself out."
In other lineup news, Francona resisted the temptation to put Alex Cora at shortstop in place of Jed Lowrie. Cora started the first game of the road trip, but Lowrie got the nod in the final five games. Against Felix Hernandez, it made sense for Francona to go with the more offensive-minded player.
"Talked to [bench coach Brad Mills] a little bit about it," Francona said. "This kid played a pretty solid game. I know it's hard on AC. We're going to let him play. This guy is a good pitcher today."
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.