Manny Ramirez Returning to Play Baseball in Japan

Former outfielder in the major league’s Manny Ramirez agreed to terms to play with Kochi Fighting Dogs in the Japanese independent Shikoku Island League.

On Monday, the team made a public announcement that Ramirez was joining them through a post on their official website.

Ramirez, who is 44, is from the Dominican Republic and played for the Taiwan professional team EDA Rhinos in the Chinese Professional Baseball League during 2013.

That season Ramirez hit .352 with 8 homers and 43 RBIs.

This new team plays in the Shikoku based independent league of just four teams. Skikoku is the smallest and the least populated of the four main islands in Japan.

Ramirez ended his career in the major leagues after playing 19 seasons, with a career batting average of .312, 555 homers and 1,831 RBIs.

Ramirez will play in a 90-game season, which means it will take its toll on his 44-year old body.

The team’s post said they were very pleased to announce the signing of Ramirez, who played for the Boston Red Sox and other Major League Baseball teams.

The other teams Ramirez played for mentioned in the Kochi team’s announcement include the Los Angeles Dodgers, Cleveland Indians, Tampa Bay Rays and Chicago White Sox.

During his career, he received two suspensions for the use of performance enhancing drugs, but had a reputation as an exciting player who did his own thing.

The last time Ramirez played in the Majors as during 2011, but he has attempted a number of comebacks. During 2014, he signed a deal to play for the minor league affiliate of the Chicago Cubs as a Triple-A player-coach. He batted .222 that season with 3 home runs.

He played Triple-A ball during 2012 and 2013 as well.

During 2013, he played pro ball in Taiwan where he would wear odd attire during his team’s road trips. That helped him to become one of the fan’s favorites.

A number of players, who either have enjoyed successful careers in Major League Baseball or could not break into MLB, have gone to Japan and China to enjoy successful careers.

There also have been a number of Asian players, who have come to play in the U.S. and have been very successful including Ichiro Suzuki, who this past season recorded his 3,000th hit.

 

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