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Manny Ramirez Can’t Play Winter Ball

Manny Ramirez
Dilip Vishwanat, Getty Images

It’s bad enough that Manny Ramirez retired in shame, when he essentially ran away from a 100-game suspension after a second positive drug test. But now, the drama in this soap opera has reached a new level of shame.

Major League Baseball’s executive vice president of labor relations Rob Manfred has confirmed reports today that Ramirez will not be able to play Winter League baseball in the Dominican Republic, because he’s on the inactive list. In order to become eligible for the league, Manny must first receive permission from commissioner Bud Selig’s office.

Ramirez retired in April after he tested positive for a performance-enhancing substance while with the Tampa Bay Rays. Rather than face a 100-game suspension for a second violation of MLB’s drug policy, the 12-time All-Star left the game. Ramirez previously served a 50-game ban in 2009 with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Ramirez’s decision to retire with an unresolved drug policy offense makes him subject to Article 3(b) of baseball’s Winter League Agreement, which states: “A Major League Player who is on a Major League Inactive List may not play in a Winter League … unless the Major League Player is a Native Player in the country in which the player wishes to play and the Commissioner consents.”

For more on this new chapter from the life and times of Manny Ramirez, check out Jerry Crasnick’s article on

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