AOHSIUNG, Taiwan – Manny Ramirez said Tuesday he is “starting a new beginning” after signing a short-term contract to play with the EDA Rhinos in Taiwan’s professional baseball league.
Ramirez, 40, will earn $25,000 a month during the March-November season.
Ramirez said he felt “blessed” about the opportunity to play in Taiwan, where he will earn a fraction of the $20 million-plus he earned at his peak.
In his major league career, he has 555 home runs and a .312 batting average.
Ramirez’s arrival in Taiwan is the latest stop in a career that has seen him morph from a promising hitter with the Cleveland Indians to a star with the Boston Red Sox, and later playing with the Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago White Sox.
He is a 12-time All-Star in 19 big-league seasons and was selected Most Valuable Player of the 2004 World Series, when the Red Sox won their first title since 1918.
His last major league appearance was with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2011.
Ramirez was suspended for 50 games in May 2009 while with the Dodgers after testing positive for human chorionic gonadotropin, a banned female fertility drug popular among steroid users because it can mitigate the side effects of ending a cycle of the drugs.
He retired in April 2011 after testing positive for elevated testosterone, then decided after the season he wanted to play baseball again.
He signed a minor league contract with Oakland and hit .302 with 14 RBI in 17 games with Triple-A Sacramento, then asked in June to be released.
Taiwan’s professional baseball league consists of only four teams, having been whittled down from a high of nine in 2008 amid a series of bribery and game-fixing scandals.