MLB notes: Rangers give Ramirez a minor-league deal

Former Boston Red Sox slugger Manny Ramirez poised to swing during his debut game with EDA Rhinos...

Former Boston Red Sox slugger Manny Ramirez poised to swing during his debut game with EDA Rhinos in Taiwan's southern Kaohsiung baseball stadium, March 27, 2013. Ramirez quit EDA Rhinos on June 19, just three-months after joining the team despite being the highest paid player in the league's history. (AFP PHOTO / Mandy Cheng)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:50 PM ET

The Texas Rangers are taking a stab at Manny Ramirez, signing the 41-year-old veteran to a minor-league contract, The Dallas Morning News reported Wednesday.

Ramirez left a team in Taiwan last month to pursue another opportunity in the major leagues. Ramirez will report to Triple-A Round Rock.

In 49 games for the EDA Rhinos in Taiwan, Ramirez hit .352 with eight home runs and 43 RBIs but quit in the middle of the season, saying he was homesick and wanted to return to the United States.

Ramirez has not played in the majors since 2011 after he tested positive for high levels of testosterone and received a suspension that he served last year in the minor leagues with the Oakland A's.

"The reason he decided not to return for the second half (in Taiwan) was to free himself to be available to play in the United States," Ramirez's agent, Barry Praver told Fox Sports. "This whole thing with Manny in Taiwan was a phenomenon. He invigorated the league. Attendance went through the roof. It was a very positive experience for both sides.

"Manny was so invigorated by his play there that he wants to return to the majors."

CUBS TO SIGN JIMENEZ

The Chicago Cubs have agreed to a deal with number one international prospect Eloy Jimenez, according to MLB.com.

Ben Badler of Baseball America says the 16-year-old Dominican Republic native, who stands at 6-foot-4, 200 pounds, “has average raw power and a flat swing that results in hard line drives rather than loft power.”

Jimenez had reportedly been in talks with several other teams. Despite even being offered more money by other clubs, he chose to sign with the Cubs.

Nothing has been made official as of yet, but an announcement is expected within the next few days.

PLAYERS OF THE MONTH

The MLB players of the month for June have been named: Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig and Cleveland Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis.

Puig led the majors with a .436 batting average, .467 on-base percentage and .713 slugging percentage. He hit seven home runs in 26 games played. His 44 hits ranks him second all-time in hits by rookies during their debut month, just four behind Joe DiMaggio’s 48 hits in May 1936.

Puig was also named NL Rookie of the month.

Kipnis hit .419 with 12 doubles, one triple, four home runs, 25 RBIs, 17 runs and 30 walks in 27 games played. He was first in the AL in batting average and had an on-base percentage of .517.

APPEL TO DEBUT

The first overall pick in the 2013 MLB draft Mark Appel is set to make his professional debut Friday.

Appel was drafted by the Houston Astros, and will get his first start with Class-A Tri-city against Lowell in a New York-Penn League matchup.

The 21-year-old right handed pitcher signed a $6.35 million signing bonus last month and has been putting in work at the Astros’ spring training complex in Kissimmee, Fla., for the past two weeks. He posted a 2.12 ERA this season at Stanford, going 10-4 with four complete games and 130 strikeouts.

“We’re not going to set any schedule on him,” said Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow. “But we will assess him after every game. We don’t want to create too many set expectations for Mark.”

BRIEFLY

The Pittsburgh Pirates demoted Brandon Cumpton to Triple-A Indianapolis after Jose Tabata was activated from the disabled list. Tabata missed six weeks with an oblique injury ... The Baltimore Orioles released veteran reliever Jon Rauch ... The Washington Nationals signed veteran catcher Kelly Shoppach ... Philadelphia Phillies hurler Carlos Zambrano will be sidelined for at least a month due to a strained shoulder ... Minnesota Twins outfielder Josh Willingham will be out 4-6 weeks after undergoing knee surgery ... The Chicago White Sox placed Paul Konerko (lower back strain) and Jesse Crain (right shoulder strain) on the disabled list ... The New York Yankees signed Luis Cruz after being let go by the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Yankees also put Jayson Nix on the disabled list with a hamstring strain.

- with files from The Sports Xchange


Videos

Photos