July 3, 2013

Rangers sign Manny Ramirez to minor league contract

The Associated Press

ARLINGTON, Texas — Manny Ramirez is apparently cutting his long dreadlocks for another shot at the major leagues.

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Texas Rangers President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Jon Daniels responds to a reporters questions during a news conference before a baseball game against the Seattle Mariners Wednesday, July 3, 2013, in Arlington, Texas. The Rangers have signed Manny Ramirez to minor league contract. Ramirez spent three months playing in Taiwan for the Rhinos before leaving the team on June 20. The Rangers made the announcement Wednesday. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

click image to enlarge

In this March 12, 2013 file photo, former Major League Baseball star Manny Ramirez poses for media wearing his new jersey after signing a short-term contract to play on the EDA Rhinos in Taiwan's professional baseball league, in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. The Texas Rangers have signed Ramirez to minor league contract. Ramirez spent three months playing in Taiwan before leaving the team on June 20. The Rangers made the announcement Wednesday, July 3, 2013. (AP Photo/Wally Santana, File)

The Texas Rangers said Wednesday they had agreed to terms on a minor league contract with the 41-year-old slugger, who hasn't played in the big leagues since 2011 with Tampa Bay.

Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said part of the deal was Ramirez, twice suspended for testing positive for banned drugs, agreeing to cut his hair and "comply with our minor league rules on appearance and discipline."

Ramirez was set to report to Triple-A Round Rock on Thursday, and he will be a designated hitter whenever he is activated. He played for three months in Taiwan before leaving the Rhinos on June 20.

"It's kind of a no-risk flier," said Daniels, indicating there was no time frame for him to be called up to the majors. "We like giving guys second chances. We know on and off the field the good and bad in Manny's career. But we're inclined to give him an opportunity here."

Ramirez hit .352 with eight homers and 43 RBIs for the Rhinos. The team tried to keep the 12-time All-Star, but he wanted to return to his family in New York.

Daniels said Ramirez was looking for an opportunity to play either in the United States or Japan.

Ramirez was suspended for 50 games in 2009 while with the Dodgers after testing positive for a banned drug. He retired in April 2011 instead of serving a 100-game ban for a second positive test, but later agreed to a reduced 50-game suspension and played in the minors for Oakland in 2012.

A lifetime .312 hitter, Ramirez is 14th on the career home runs list with 555.

The Rangers didn't see Ramirez play in Taiwan, nor were they among the teams that worked him out in Florida recently, Daniels said.

"We're really just kind of going off the resume here a little bit," Daniels said. "If he's productive and we feel he fits our culture here in the clubhouse, we'll give him an opportunity," Daniels said. "If either of those ends don't pan out, then kind of no harm, no foul."

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