Notes: Manny's March 1 date confirmed
Superstar slugger granted clearance to deal with family issues
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Red Sox confirmed on Wednesday that Manny Ramirez is dealing with a family issue and the star slugger has been granted clearance from the club to report to Spring Training on March 1.
The rest of Boston's position players underwent physicals on Wednesday, so Ramirez will be roughly one week behind schedule.
"Manny is going to be here, ready to go, March 1," said Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein. "He's got a family situation. I think the important thing, from our perspective to this point, is that when he does show up on March 1 that he's ready to go, accountable to his teammates and accountable to the organization."
Red Sox manager Terry Francona spoke to Ramirez via phone on Tuesday night and, like Epstein, expressed no issue with the left fielder's timetable.
Reliever Julian Tavarez, Ramirez's close friend, said earlier this week that the slugger would not be on hand until March 1. However, the Red Sox weren't comfortable making an announcement until they heard it directly from Ramirez.
Epstein said that he was satisfied with the communication between Ramirez's agent and the club.
"Again, I think the most important thing is accountability, starting March 1, and from then on out," said Epstein. "Manny's spring will start March 1. That's an excused absence due to family reasons."
The news that Ramirez would be on a different schedule from the rest of the players appeared to be a non-issue.
"He's got to do what he's got to do," said Sox designated hitter David Ortiz. "He's got family problems, and hopefully, everything goes well with his mom, and hopefully, he'll be ready to go after he gets here."
The Associated Press reported on Wednesday night that Ramirez was scheduled to attend a car auction in Atlantic City, N.J., on Saturday, according to the promoter of the auction.
It wasn't immediately clear if the Red Sox were aware of Ramirez's scheduled appearance at the Atlantic City Classic Cars Auction.
Louise Cunningham, who works for G. Potter King, the Berlin, N.J., car dealer promoting the auction, told The Associated Press that Ramirez was still expected at the event.
"All we know, he's coming at noon on Saturday, nothing else," she said.
Ramirez is a collector of classic cars. His 1967 four-door Lincoln Continental Sedan convertible is listed in Saturday's auction as number 1747A. In parentheses on the auction list is a note: Owned by Manny Ramirez.
Epstein made no mention of the car show to reporters. Neither Epstein nor Ramirez's agent, Greg Genske, returned e-mails to The AP seeking comment.
This will mark the second year in a row that Ramirez will report to camp on March 1. A year ago, the left fielder told the club he wanted to complete his conditioning program at his South Florida home before coming to camp.
Full house: Aside from Ramirez, the Red Sox now have a full squad at camp. Physicals and conditioning drills were completed on Wednesday, and the club will have its first full-squad workout on Thursday.
Prior to the workout, Francona will have a meeting with the team, as he does every spring.
"It's exciting, isn't it? I just told [bench coach Brad Mills] before we came out here, we can actually play baseball tomorrow," said Francona. "We'll be out here tomorrow morning. We'll meet in the morning, we'll come out and take BP, we'll watch the pitchers pitch. This is an exciting time of the year for us."
Clement working toward recovery: Right-hander Matt Clement is making good progress from the extensive surgery he had on his labrum and rotator cuff in September.
"He's inside [during workouts]," said Francona. "He's on actually a very strenuous program. He's in the very highest percentile of how he's doing, according to other pitchers. A throwing program will start while we're down here in Spring Training. I don't have that exact date. He has to gain certain strength, certain mobility, and then he'll move on."
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. The Associated Press contributed to this report. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.