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Former MLB All-Star outfielder Manny Ramirez said Wednesday he’s hoping to play in Taiwan’s Chinese Professional Baseball League during the 2020 season.
Ramirez, who played for the Fubon Guardians (then the EDA Rhinos) in 2013, told Mark Buckton of the Taiwan Times he’s looking to make a comeback despite turning 48 in May:
“My goal for 2020, is to find a roster spot in the CPBL.
“I have been itching to get back in the batter’s box and be able to compete again. I also miss being around teammates and team dinners postgame.
“I know if I was given the opportunity to come in an organization as a player-coach, it would do great things for the organization and the league.”
Hector Zepeda Jr., Ramirez’s agent, told Jon Heyman of MLB Network that his client is looking for an opportunity to be a designated hitter or take on a DH-coach hybrid role.
“He hasn’t lost his touch,” Zepeda said. “He’s still got it. He just wants the opportunity.”
Ramirez was terrific for the Rhinos in 2013. He posted a .352/.422/.555 triple-slash line with eight home runs in 49 games before opting out of his contract that June.
The former Cleveland Indians and Boston Red Sox slugger spent time in the Chicago Cubs’ minor league system as a player-coach in 2014 and a hitting instructor for two additional years. He also had a brief stay with the Kochi Fighting Dogs in Japan’s Shikoku Island League Plus.
He told Buckton his return could help bolster the CPBL, which has already restarted play amid the coronavirus pandemic while several high-profile baseball leagues around the world, including MLB, remain halted.
“When I arrived in 2013, attendances nearly quadrupled overnight,” Ramirez said. “That means, there is love for the game and the fans will come, but the owners must bring what the fans want.”
He added: “I have had a few offers for teams in the Atlantic League but am more in favor of experiencing Taiwan and their delicious food. I am positive an opportunity will arise, God willing.”
Ramirez’s MLB career resume includes two World Series championships with the Red Sox (2004 and 2007), 12 All-Star appearances, nine Silver Slugger Awards and an American League batting title in 2002.
The Dominican Republic native, who also played for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago White Sox and Tampa Bay Rays, was one of the sport’s most dangerous, well-rounded hitters at his peak, and he clearly thinks he could still make an impact at the pro level.