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Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon says Manny Ramirez called him after his retirement

BOSTON — Manny Ramirez did not go silently into the night, or into retirement.

Manager Joe Maddon revealed that Ramirez called him after the news broke Friday and said he was disappointed in himself, but he didn't explain or apologize for his actions leading to the positive drug test that prompted his decision.

"He just said he was disappointed; he didn't necessarily apologize," Maddon said Monday. "And I wasn't looking for an apology, actually. I wasn't. He spoke to me kinda like man to man, person to person, manager to player kind of a thing. So I didn't think he owed me an apology."

Others might disagree, given the way Ramirez's sudden departure destroyed the Rays' plans and left a major hole in their lineup, but Maddon said it wasn't his place to ask. Ramirez did not call executive VP Andrew Friedman or any other front office officials.

Maddon said he hadn't expected to hear from Ramirez, given how briefly he was part of the team. "I was pretty much taken by it. … I didn't know if he'd be moved and motivated to do that, but he was, and he was very kind in his comments," Maddon said. "He expressed disappointment in himself to me, also, but also had really high praise for us as an organization, as a group, so I felt pretty good about that. I'm really not a judgmental person by nature. I took him for his word right there."

Maddon said he also told Ramirez he'd like to consider him a friend going forward.

Rays LF Johnny Damon, who is friends with Ramirez, said they hadn't spoken yet, though their wives had exchanged text messages. Damon, speaking to a large group of Boston media, said he considered the whole episode sad.

"I can't believe it," he said. "I thought, well, if you get busted one time, you don't get busted again, but maybe I'm wrong. Believe me, it shocked us all. We thought it may have been a different personal matter than what came out. It's sad. I feel bad for Manny that his career is ending this way."

SI.com's Will Carroll reported the test Ramirez failed was one of the additional urine tests he had to take as a previous offender and that it was not for hCG, the female fertility drug that led to his 2009 suspension.

C.C. UPDATE: LF Carl Crawford, who left the Rays and got a seven-year, $142 million deal from the Red Sox, said it would be fun to play against his friends and former teammates, but he wasn't spending a lot of thinking about who had the advantage, what it might be and how best to use it.

"I'm not going to go that deep into it," he said. "I don't like to do all that thinking. I'm just going to be trying to play."

Besides, given Crawford's slow start — .163, 7-for-43 — there would appear to be other things to be concerned with. "I ain't really that disappointed because I know it's just the beginning, so just hope it gets better," he said.

Pregame tonight, Crawford will receive the Gold Glove and Silver Slugger awards he won last season with the Rays.

JOLTIN' JOE: Maddon hadn't heard from MLB as of game time about his Sunday tirade and ejection, though he will, along with a fine of least $500. "I shall and I should and I will," he said. "When that happens, it happens."

But he heard plenty from his companions at dinner Sunday in Boston's Summer Shack when the highlights were shown. "I was enjoying a splayed, grilled lobster — it was outstanding — and it happened to come on," he said. "It was somewhat humorous."

Asked if the maneuver of pointing to and ejecting the umpires had a name, Maddon replied: "It's called out-of-control-manager move."

PRICE REPORT: LHP David Price takes the mound with a purpose tonight, frustrated that he has lost his past four starts — two this season, two in the 2010 ALDS. "That bothers me," Price said. "You never want to lose, especially four starts in a row. … That's where I feel like I've just gotten beat. That's just on me."

If Price does lose tonight, he already has one change in mind: his beard. "It'll be gone," he said.

MEDICAL MATTERS: LHP J.P. Howell advances to the next stage of his recovery from shoulder surgery Wednesday in Port Charlotte when he'll throw the first of three scheduled batting practice sessions before starting a minor-league rehab. He hopes to return by mid May. … 3B Evan Longoria is being treated for his strained oblique at the Trop, on schedule to start throwing in the next few days, and could get some at-bats in a minor-league game in about two weeks.

MISCELLANY: Going by the all-time hits list (rather than just the modern day), Damon is in 81st place with 2,578, five behind Ernie Banks. … The Rays were the first team in the modern era (since 1900) to strike out at least seven times in their first nine games, according to Elias. … Matt Joyce moved into the No. 3 spot in the lineup as Maddon started eight lefty hitters against Daisuke Matsuzaka.

Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon says Manny Ramirez called him after his retirement 04/11/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 12, 2011 1:25am]

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