Manny Ramirez will not be allowed to play winter ball in the Dominican Republic because he neither served a suspension nor contested it following a positive drug test this year, a person familiar with the situation told the Associated Press.
The Cibao Eagles, a Dominican winter league team Ramirez played with in 1993-94, said this week he was expected to start training with the club.
Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association, however, have concluded Ramirez is ineligible, the person said Thursday, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Then with Tampa Bay, Ramirez told MLB in April he would retire rather than face a 100-game suspension for a second positive drug test.
ESPNdeportes.com reported that Ramirez said in a phone interview that he will apply for reinstatement.
“I would comply with my pending sanction and I would be available for any major league team,” Ramirez told the website. “I already informed (agent) Scott Boras of my decision to return and begin the process.
“If any team wants to sign me, I would play. If no one does, I would look to play in Japan or any other place. I was not prepared for retirement.”
Ramirez cannot serve his suspension until he signs with a major league club.
Ramirez served a 50-game ban in 2009 after a positive test for human chorionic gonadotropin, a banned female fertility drug often used to help mask steroid use.
MARLINS’ NUNEZ FACES ID ISSUE
Florida closer Leo Nunez has been playing under an assumed name, and the issue prompted him to return Thursday to his native Dominican Republic, two people familiar with his immigration status said.
Both people said the Marlins have been aware of the issue for several months. They spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.
One of the people said Nunez’s real name is Juan Carlos Oviedo and he’s 29, a year older than listed in the team media guide. The Marlins placed Nunez on Major League Baseball’s restricted list, and he isn’t expected to pitch in the final week of the season.
His agent, Andy Mota, declined to comment.
Lance Berkman agreed to a one-year, $12 million contract with the Cardinals. The 35-year-old is completing a comeback season with 31 home runs, 91 RBI and a .300 average. … Rangers reliever Mark Lowe’s status for the playoffs is in doubt after he received an injection to treat his strained left hamstring. General manager Jon Daniels said tests revealed the former Mariners reliever has a Grade 2 strain. … A major league all-star team will travel to Taiwan in November for five exhibition games. The big league all-stars will play Taiwan’s national team from Nov. 2-6, the commissioner’s office and players’ association said.