The Rangers have signed outfielder/DH Manny Ramirez to a minor-league contract, the team announced on Wednesday. The 12-time All-Star will report to the club's Triple-A affiliate at Round Rock, Texas and work out for a few days before being activated. Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports Ramirez will earn $500,000 prorated at the big-league level and has agreed to cut his hair.
Manny, 41, opted out of his contract with the EDA Rhinos of Taiwan's Chinese Professional Baseball League last month in an effort to find a job in MLB. He was said to have an offer on the table from a team in Japan.
The Rangers signed Lance Berkman to be their primary DH this year, but the 37-year-old has battled nagging knee problems after missing most of the last year due to knee surgery. He is hitting .263/.362/.392 (102 OPS+) with six home runs in 64 games this year. Texas could slide Berkman to first base and put Manny at DH, however. It's very unlikely either would be asked to play the outfield at this point in their careers.
In 49 games with the Rhinos, Ramirez hit .352/.422/.555 with eight home runs and more walks (23) than strikeouts (21) in 206 plate appearances. He has not played in MLB since 2011, when he appeared in five games with the Rays before being suspended 100 games for a second failed drug test. The suspension was cut in half after he sat out the remainder of the season.
The Athletics signed Ramirez to a minor-league contract in 2012, and he hit .302/.348/.349 with no home runs in 17 games for their Triple-A affiliate before requesting his release. He has served his suspension and can return to MLB immediately, but the Rangers will send him for a quick minor-league tune up first.
In his last full big-league season, Manny hit .298/.409/.460 with nine homers in 90 games for the Dodgers and White Sox in 2010.