Manny Ramirez is back in baseball. The 12-time MLB All-Star has signed a one-year contract to be a player-coach with the Sydney Blue Sox of the Australian Baseball League, reports MLB Network's Jon Heyman. The contract includes a club option.
"He can still swing the bat. He's still got it," Ramirez's agent, Hector Zapada, told Heyman.
Ramirez, now 48, last played in 2014, when he served as a player-coach with the Cubs' Triple-A affiliate in Iowa. He went 16 for 72 (.222) with three home runs in 24 games that summer. Ramirez then hit .313/.409/.510 in 41 games in the Dominican Winter League after the season. He has not played in the big leagues since 2011.
This will not be Ramirez's first stint overseas. In 2013, he hit .352/.422/.555 with eight home runs in 49 games with the EDA Rhinos of the Chinese Professional Baseball League. Manny signed with the Kochi Fighting Dogs of the independent Shikoku Island League in Japan in 2017, but he did not play because of a knee injury.
The eight-team Australian Baseball League plays a 24-game season in December and January each year. It is an alternative to winter leagues in the Caribbean and features local players, minor leaguers affiliated with MLB teams, and players from Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan.
Ramirez finished his MLB career as a .312/.411/.585 hitter with 555 home runs in parts of 19 seasons. Multiple performance-enhancing drug suspensions have kept him out of the Hall of Fame, however.