FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) -Manny Ramirez switched agents and is now represented by Scott Boras.
Ramirez, entering the final guaranteed year of his contract, became the seventh player on Boston's probable 25-man roster to be represented by Boras. The Red Sox slugger had been represented by Greg Genske.
Ramirez said Thursday he'd like to retire as a member of the Red Sox. He acknowledged that's out of his control, because the team has an option on his contract in 2009 and 2010 at $20 million per season. If it doesn't pick up the option, he can become a free agent, making his agent's role more significant.
Boras, known as a tough negotiator, also represents Boston pitchers Daisuke Matsuzaka and Julian Tavarez, catcher Jason Varitek, outfielders J.D. Drew and Jacoby Ellsbury and infielder Alex Cora.
Boston general manager Theo Epstein confirmed the switch Saturday in an e-mail to The Associated Press. It originally was reported by SI.com.
Epstein and Ramirez have said they want to wait until after this season to make a decision on the option or on extending the left fielder's contract.
In January, Boras attended a round-table discussion at Fenway Park designed to raise money for Epstein's charity, the Foundation To Be Named Later. General managers Brian Cashman of the New York Yankees and J.P. Ricciardi of the Toronto Blue Jays also attended.
At the end of the session, Boras announced he was making a donation to the charity.
Ramirez signed an eight-year, $160 million contract with the Red Sox as a free agent in December 2000 when he was represented by Jeff Moorad. After Moorad became chief executive officer of the Arizona Diamondbacks, Ramirez switched to Genske.
In past years, Ramirez said he wanted to be traded by the Red Sox. That apparently has changed.
``I want to stay here, but it's up to them if they want to bring me,'' he said. ``But if they don't want to bring me back, that's fine. I know I'll be a free agent after '08 so that's another thing that I'm looking forward (to).''
Epstein praised the 35-year-old's work ethic and hitting ability.
``He's certainly in great enough shape where he can play at a high level for a long time,'' Epstein said, ``but when something like that is built into a contract it makes sense just to be patient and wait for the appropriate time to deal with it.''
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