SAN FRANCISCO -- The Dodgers are in no jeopardy of losing Manny Ramirez, but the commissioner's office is reviewing issues surrounding the trade that brought him to Los Angeles.
Commissioner Bud Selig has asked Rob Manfred, baseball's executive vice president for labor relations, to determine the facts behind Ramirez's departure from Boston, a baseball source said Friday, speaking on condition of anonymity because the matter had not been resolved.
The Boston Globe reported in its Friday editions that Selig had ordered an investigation into "the circumstances of Manny's final hours with the Red Sox."
The Dodgers acquired Ramirez from the Red Sox in the final minutes before the July 31 trading deadline. Ramirez agreed to waive his no-trade clause and the Red Sox agreed to drop two option years from his contract, making him a free agent this fall when he otherwise would not have been.
Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy wrote that Ramirez essentially forced the Red Sox to trade him by "withholding services and playing at half-speed." Ramirez's agent, Scott Boras, denied the charge, pointing to Ramirez's .347 average and 1.060 OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage) in July.
"I have not received any calls from the commissioner's office suggesting that there is an investigation," Boras said.
Ramirez said he hadn't talked to anyone from the commissioner's office and Dodgers General Manager Ned Colletti said he wasn't aware of anyone in the organization having done so.
"I don't know what the commissioner's office's viewpoint of this is," Boras said. "It was a simple transaction. We had 10-5 [no-trade] rights, the Red Sox made it clear that they wanted to trade him and we let the Red Sox know that L.A. was the place we wanted to go."
Andre Ethier was discussing how the addition of Ramirez resulted in an extra body in an already crowded outfield when it was mentioned to him that he seemed more at ease talking about his irregular playing time than, say, a couple of weeks ago.
"Yeah," Ethier said, shrugging his shoulders. "You want to have fun. Sometimes you struggle and sometimes you fight it and you have to decide what your goals and what the team goals are. Sometimes you have to take a step back."
Though Ethier was frequently complimented in recent weeks by Manager Joe Torre for becoming increasingly consistent at the plate, he has started only two of the seven games the Dodgers have played since acquiring Ramirez.
Asked if it made it any easier knowing that it's Ramirez who is pushing him out of the lineup, Ethier said, "It never makes it easier. You want to play in every game. . . . I've been here for three years and I've been through a good season and a bad season like last year. It's a lot better having a good season than to go through a bad one. That makes it easier."
Right-hander Brian Falkenborg was designated for assignment to clear a roster spot for Brad Penny, who was activated. The closer at triple-A Las Vegas for most of the season, Falkenborg was called up to the majors June 25. He was 2-2 with a 6.17 earned-run average over 16 appearances.
Nomar Garciaparra, who is eligible to be activated from the disabled list Tuesday, fielded grounders at short and ran the bases for the first time since spraining his left knee.