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05/04/08 1:48 PM ET

Ortiz sits finale with sore right knee

After slow start to season, slugger finding groove at plate

BOSTON -- David Ortiz, continuing to have trouble with a surgically repaired right knee, was a late scratch from the Red Sox's lineup Sunday vs. the Rays with tightness in the knee, further hampering an already depleted roster.

With the club not making a move after Brandon Moss underwent an appendectomy Saturday night, Boston was set to go with 24 players in its series finale against Tampa Bay. About 20 minutes before gametime, however, word came Ortiz would be sitting for the second time in as many weekends against the Rays.

Ortiz bruised the knee, which was surgically repaired in the offseason, diving into first base against the Rays on April 25 at Tropicana Field and sat out the next two games. Big Papi played the next five games, but he couldn't go Sunday.

The loss of Ortiz caused a lineup shuffle that saw Manny Ramirez get a day as the designated hitter, with Jacoby Ellsbury, originally scheduled to sit, playing left field and leading off. Coco Crisp slid from leading off to No. 8 in manager Terry Francona's lineup.

Ortiz started the season slowly but had hit safely in 14 of his last 17 games, batting .301 with four homers and 21 RBIs over that stretch. He had driven in at least one run (two Saturday night) in 10 of his last 13 games.

Mike Shalin is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.