Manny Ramirez said Tuesday that he is “starting a new beginning” after signing a short-term contract to play with the EDA Rhinos in Taiwan’s professional baseball league.
The Rhinos said the 40-year-old will earn $25,000 a month to appear with the team during this year’s March-November season.
Speaking at a news conference in the Rhinos hometown of Kaohsiung in southern Taiwan, Ramirez said he felt “blessed” about the opportunity to play in Taiwan, where he will earn only a fraction of the $20 million-plus he earned at the peak years of his career.
“I just think it is a great opportunity for me and the fans,” he said.
Ramirez’s arrival in Taiwan is the latest stop in a career that has seen him morph from a promising hitter in the Cleveland Indians organization to a star with the Boston Red Sox and a huge attraction 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, where he was 1 for 17 at the plate before his season was cut short.
BIG APPLE FEAST
Around 1:10 p.m. on April 1, a Mets pitcher — probably Jonathon Niese — will throw the first pitch of the 2013 season to a Padres batter in Queens. About the same exact moment, a Yankees pitcher — probably CC Sabathia — will throw the first pitch of his team’s 2013 season to a Red Sox batter in the Bronx.
This is not an April Fools’ Day joke.
The Mets and Yankees are scheduled to both open the season on the same day, at the same time, in the same city, for the first time ever.
JETER WILL ‘BE OUT THERE’
Derek Jeter says he will play at shortstop tonight against the Philadelphia Phillies.
It’s the first time in the field for Jeter since ankle surgery last fall. Jeter said Tuesday after working out in Tampa, Fla., that he’ll “be out there” against the Phillies after two games as the designated hitter.
The game today also marks the spring training debut for Yankees pitcher Andy Pettitte.
AL Cy Young Award winner David Price has been selected as Tampa Bay’s opening-day starter against AL East rival Baltimore. … Baltimore Orioles right fielder Nick Markakis has been diagnosed with a small herniated disk in his neck and will be out about another week. Orioles manager Buck Showalter said Markakis has returned to Baltimore to see a spine specialist. … Outfielder Yoenis Cespedes rejoined the Oakland Athletics on Tuesday after briefly leaving spring training to be reunited with his family for the first time in about a year. The Cuban defector surprised family members in Miami after they arrived over the weekend from the Turks and Caicos, where they had been detained as illegal immigrants. The relatives, including Cespedes’ mother, Estela Milanes, were released Jan. 21.