Manny Ramirez is back in professional baseball. Australian baseball, that is.
The 12-time All-Star, two-time World Series champion and former World Series MVP has signed a one-year deal with the Sydney Blue Sox of the Australian Baseball League. The team confirmed Ramirez, 48, will serve as a player-coach.
“As a life-long Boston Red Sox fan this is a dream come true,” Sydney owner Adam Dobb told theabl.com.au. “Manny has been interested in the Australian Baseball League for quite a while now. It was his preference to play down here in a big city and we’re thrilled to have a player of his calibre in Sydney.”
Dobb added that Ramirez has been taking daily batting practice and was not ready to give up the game yet. The Australian season begins on Dec. 18, giving the outfielder a bit more time to continue getting in shape.
Following a 19-year career with five MLB teams, Ramirez has stayed relatively active around the game. He played pro ball in his native Dominican Republic in 2013, two years after he last walked off a Major League field, and signed a minor league deal with the Texas Rangers shortly after.
Ramirez didn't make it back to the big leagues with Texas and opted for a different approach in 2014. He signed with the Chicago Cubs as a player-coach for the Triple-A Iowa Cubs and remained with the organization for the next two years as a hitting consultant for both the Iowa Cubs and their Major League team.
The slugger has yet to lose interest in playing and will attempt to continue his career in a fourth country following a short stint with Japan's Shikoku Island League Plus in 2017.
“He is going to be massive for the Blue Sox and the ABL," Dobb said. "We can’t wait to see Manny being Manny down under.”