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Cubs pick Ramirez to man DH spot

Cubs pick Ramirez to man DH spot

Cubs pick Ramirez to man DH spot
BOSTON -- Third baseman Aramis Ramirez was the designated hitter on Friday for the Cubs' first Interleague game of 2011 against the Red Sox.

Another option Cubs manager Mike Quade considered was to have Alfonso Soriano be the DH, primarily because playing at Fenway Park and having to deal with the Green Monster in left might be a challenge.

"Everyone talks about the Monster, which is fine, but try playing right field here," said Quade, who kept Soriano in left field and started Reed Johnson in right. "Right field to me is a much tougher chore. You have to recognize things quickly here. I think right field and right-center are much more difficult situations."

In Friday's 15-5 loss, Soriano handled two balls perfectly off the Green Monster. He was charged with an error in the seventh but that was because he over-ran Jarrod Saltalamacchia's leadoff hit.

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"It's not a big deal," Soriano said of playing the wall. "You read the ball and when it hits the wall you just wait for it."

Ramirez was batting .287 overall, and 4-for-17 on this road trip, which began Monday in Cincinnati. He has one home run, hit back on April 6. Jeff Baker started at third base for the Cubs against the Red Sox's Jon Lester. Baker is batting .342 overall and .457 against left-handers. Baker was an option in the outfield, too.

"Because Baker has only played right [field] for me, I thought that would be asking a little bit much [to have him play left]," Quade said.

Soriano will likely be the designated hitter on Saturday. He was batting .344 against left-handers and was 2-for-10 this week, starting three of the Cubs' four games. He has a career .284 average at Fenway Park.

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter@CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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