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Ramirez Still Missing After Slap

March 19, 1998

KISSIMMEE, Fla. (AP) _ Manny Ramirez apparently will not be suspended for slapping a clubhouse worker, but he was not on the Cleveland Indians’ travel squad Thursday for the second consecutive day.

Ramirez, the Indians’ cleanup batter and second-leading hitter this spring, stayed in Winter Haven with a sore left thigh, manager Mike Hargrove said. Cleveland’s game against the Houston Astros was rained out.

Hargrove was aggravated by speculation that the club was faking an injury to keep disciplinary action against Ramirez quiet.

``Absolutely, the reason we left him back was because of his leg,″ Hargrove said.

Ramirez slapped clubhouse assistant Tom Foster in the face after the two exchanged words about two hours after Cleveland’s 8-4 loss to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays on Tuesday. Ramirez had taken two of his bats out of the equipment room, where players are forbidden to go. Foster reportedly berated Ramirez for ignoring the rules.

Ramirez was going to give the bats to Marcus Giles, younger brother of Indians outfielder Brian Giles.

Hargrove and general manager John Hart have said the situation had been ``addressed internally″ and that Ramirez would not be suspended. Ramirez is listed as day-to-day.

``Manny was running really well last week,″ Hargrove said. ``He was running the bases well and smart. Manny has worked harder in this camp than anybody.″

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