Manny Ramirez still wants to play
While major leaguers are preparing in Arizona and Florida for the 2014 season, Manny Ramirez has set up his own training camp at a community park in the Miami area of Hialeah.
The 41-year-old doesn't have a team, but he keeps the word "retirement" out of his mind for now.
Ramirez, a veteran with 555 homers in 19 seasons, has not played in the majors since 2011, when a second suspension for violating the anti-doping program forced him to quit baseball.
The outfielder/DH signed minor league agreements with the Oakland Athletics and Texas Rangers during the past two seasons, but both times he requested his release after not being summoned to the majors.
Despite these experiences, Ramirez believes he can still perform at the highest level.
"My qualities are still there, and I just need an opportunity to continue showing that the 'Super Manny' can help a team," Ramirez said Thursday on "Grandes en los Deportes" on ESPN Radio 104.5 FM in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
"For now, I have no team interested, but I'm still working. Maybe I don't have anything this week, but who knows? Maybe next week I could get a call," Ramirez said from his training headquarters, which he shares with Miguel Tejada.
Ramirez played last season in Taiwan, where he hit .352 with eight homers and 43 RBIs in 49 games with the EDA Rhinos. Those numbers won him a minor league contract with the Rangers.
Texas granted Ramirez his release in August -- after he hit .259 with three homers and 13 RBIs in 30 games for Triple-A Round Rock -- to give him the opportunity to look elsewhere.
"Three weeks ago, I received a call from Taiwan to check if I wanted to return there, but I feel I can still help in MLB, in a role similar to Jason Giambi in Cleveland, for example," Ramirez said. "If it is God's will, I could play in MLB this season. I just need a team to open the doors. I can help in the field and in the clubhouse for the younger guys."
Ramirez, who was paid more than $200 million over his career, said it's not the money that fuels his comeback and denied there is a plot against him in the majors.
"I can't say that there's anything against me because the Lord is the only one who reads the hearts of the people," Ramirez said. "But one thing I can say: For an MLB team, it would be a blessing to have players like me and Miguel Tejada, only by our experience. But you never know what they are thinking.
"I can't complain about Texas. They gave me the opportunity. After my arrival from Taiwan, everybody was in game shape and I felt I was in spring training."
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