Manny Ramirez signed a minor-league contract on Wednesday to return to North America America and play for the Texas Rangers.
The 41-year-old mercurial outfielder, who is one of the most prolific right-handed sluggers in MLB history, will work out for the team’s Triple-A affiliate before being activated in the next few days. Ramirez is a 12-time All-Star and ranks in the top-30 in several all-time career statistics such as OPS (9th, .996), home runs (14th, 555), runs batted in (18th, 1,831) and doubles (27th, 547).
In 2013, Ramirez had been playing for the EDA Rhinos of the Chinese Professional Baseball League. He was producing well, batting .352/.422/.555 with eight home runs and 43 RBI as the team’s designated hitter.
He last appeared in the major leagues with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2011. When faced with a second-offender 100-game suspension for failing for a performance-enhancing drug test, he then retired from the game. The suspension was later reduced to 50 games as he signed with the Oakland Athletics last year, and he served his time before batting .302/.348/.349 in 69 plate appearances for the team’s Triple-A affiliate.
The Plain Dealer’s Paul Hoynes had reported that the Indians were never in discussions this past offseason with Ramirez about him returning to the franchise and his former manager Terry Francona. That also was the case under former manager Manny Acta prior to the 2012 season.
“Obviously, with our history, we like giving guys second chances,” Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said to the media on Wednesday with the announcement. “We know on and off the field the good and the bad in Manny’s career. We’re inclined to give him an opportunity here.”
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