Major League Baseball joined the rest of the sports world last month by temporarily suspending operations due to concerns over the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
While there is optimism baseball can soon resume in North America, the sport has already returned to other parts of the world. Particularly in Asia, where the Korean Baseball Organization (KBO) is set to begin its 2020 season next week — albeit without fans in the stands.
The Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL) is back in business as well, following the same protocol as the KBO. Now two weeks into their respective campaign, a familiar face is interested in rejoining the league.
Former Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Manny Ramirez, who has been out of professional baseball for five years now, hopes to revitalize his career with the CPBL, via Mark Buckton of The Taiwan Times:
The baseball fans of Taiwan are incredibly respectful and loyal—this being one of the many reasons of wanting to come back and leave my mark, once more.
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 post-game.
Ramirez, who turns 48 in May, last appeared in a professional baseball game for the Aguilas Cibaenas during the 2014-15 Dominican Winter League season.
He has previous experience in the CPBL, having appeared in 49 games for the EDA Rhinos during the 2013 season. He hit a stellar .352/.422/.555 with eight home runs and 43 RBI in 206 plate appearances.
Prior to that, Ramirez enjoyed a 19-year MLB career that featured stops with the Cleveland Indians (1993-00), Boston Red Sox (2001-08), Dodgers (2008-10), Chicago White Sox (2010) and Tampa Bay Rays (2011).
Acquired from the Red Sox at the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline in 2008, Ramirez immediately provided a jolt to the Dodgers lineup, hitting .396/.489/.743 with 17 home runs and 53 RBI in 53 games.
Over parts of three seasons with the organization., Ramirez batted .322/.433/.580 with 53 doubles, 44 home runs and 156 RBI in 223 games. His 555 career home runs rank 15th in MLB history.
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