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Former major league outfielder Manny Ramirez is set to lace up the cleats overseas.
The Kochi Fighting Dogs—who play in Japan’s independent Shikoku Island League—announced Monday they reached an agreement with Ramirez on their official website.
According to the Associated Press (h/t Yahoo Sports), the league Ramirez joined has just four teams in it. The AP noted this is not the first time the retired MLB star played in a different country, since he was a member of the EDA Rhinos of Chinese Professional Baseball in Taiwan in 2013.
Brandon Schlager of Omnisport (h/t Sporting News) wrote Ramirez’s playing career has “been dormant” since he was a player-coach for the Chicago Cubs’ Triple-A affiliate in 2014.
TMZ Sports reported in December Ramirez’s wife, Juliana, said he was “training extremely hard.”
Ramirez last played in the major leagues in 2011 as a member of the Tampa Bay Rays when he tallied 17 at-bats with just one hit and one RBI.
Despite the lackluster showing in 2011, he is one of the better sluggers of his generation. He played from 1993 to 2011 for the Cleveland Indians, Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago White Sox and Rays and finished his career with 12 All-Star appearances and nine Silver Sluggers.
He was a power hitter who hit for average as well, and he slashed .312/.411/.585 in his career with 555 home runs and 1,831 RBI. He finished with 12 seasons with more than 30 home runs and 12 seasons with more than 100 RBI during his MLB tenure.
While he was effective at the majority of his stops, Ramirez is best known for his time with Boston because he directed the franchise to its first title since 1918 as the 2004 World Series MVP. He was part of a daunting tandem alongside David Ortiz that helped the Red Sox overcome a 3-0 deficit in the American League Championship Series against the New York Yankees and beat the St. Louis Cardinals in the Fall Classic.
Ramirez is 44 years old and is well-removed from his prime, but he gives the Fighting Dogs a name with star power who will theoretically draw fans into the stadium. He also gets to continue playing the game that made him famous, even if he won’t be making as many headlines as he did ending a curse with the Red Sox.