A's release Ramirez
By Sports Network
|Manny Ramirez runs the bases during a spring training game between the Athletics and Reds at Phoenix Municipal Stadium in Phoenix, Ariz., March 10, 2012. (KEVORK DJANSEZIAN/Getty Images/AFP)
OAKLAND - Manny Ramirez requested to be released from the Oakland Athletics, and the team granted the veteran slugger's wish Friday night.
Ramirez signed a minor league contract with the A's on Feb. 20, but was required to serve a 50-game suspension for violating Major League Baseball's drug policy in 2011.
Although Ramirez was eligible to join the A's on May 30, he remained with the team's Triple-A affiliate in Sacramento, and batted .302 with three doubles, no home runs, 14 RBI, 17 strikeouts and five walks in 17 games.
Ramirez played just five games with Tampa Bay last April and suddenly announced his retirement after a second violation of the league's Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. The penalty would have included a 100-game suspension, but he instead chose to hang up his cleats.
In December, Ramirez applied for reinstatement. The Office of the Commissioner and the Players Association then decided that Ramirez must first serve the 50-game suspension.
Ramirez, a 12-time All-Star who turned 40 years old on May 30, previously served a 50-game ban in 2009 as a member of the Dodgers for his first drug violation.
In 19 seasons with the Indians, Red Sox, Dodgers, White Sox and Rays, Ramirez has batted .312 with 555 home runs and 1,831 RBI. He won World Series titles with Boston in 2004 and 2007, capturing MVP honors in the 2004 sweep of St. Louis.