For the “Classic Manny” file, ProJo’s Steve Krassner recounts this priceless bit:

Manny Ramirez (strained left oblique) visited Terry Francona’s office early yesterday and asked where he could go to get in some at-bats before returning to big-league action.

“I tried to explain to him, well, that would be with us,” said Francona with a chuckle. “There’s no place to send him.”

That’s because the Instructional League hasn’t started yet and the Red Sox’ minor-league teams are finished with their respective seasons. Francona said he appreciated Ramirez approaching him to let him know he was getting close, but the manager still thinks he could be “two, three, four days out” from playing.

As for last night’s game, if the Red Sox want to drag me Andy Dufresne-style through 500 yards of filth and room-temperature urine to get to October’s promised land, then so be it. I’m in this for the long haul, and ready to do what I gotta do. But a measly five hits against the .500 Blue Jays? Somehow that doesn’t make me feel good, especially with the one-minute-he’s-Cy-Young, the-next-he’s-Wes-Gardner A.J. Burnett on the hill for Toronto tonight. With the Yankees inching closer and the Angels trying to wrest the best record in baseball from our fingers, every pitch, every swing, every craning of the neck to watch Tina Cervasio walk by means something.

I know it won’t come easy; it never does and I’ve got the ulcers to show for it. But I can’t make the switch from crack to Heineken until the division is secured. And that means that now, more than ever, I need to see Manny, doo-rag and goofy grin intact, meandering up to the on-deck circle.

Oh, and that dream of all DO and Remy, all the time? Slowly but surely, we’re getting closer.