Tampa Bay Rays slugger Manny Ramirez has notified Major League Baseball that he is retiring after being notified of an issue under MLB’s drug policy.
Ramirez tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug during spring training and retired rather than face a 100-game suspension, The New York Times reported on its website.
Major League Baseball announced the move in a statement on Friday but did not say whether Ramirez tested positive for a banned substance. He has previously served a 50-game suspension for violating the drug policy while he was with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
“Major League Baseball recently notified Manny Ramirez of an issue under Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program,” the statement said. “Rather than continue with the process under the Program, Ramirez has informed MLB that he is retiring as an active player. If Ramirez seeks reinstatement in the future, the process under the Drug Program will be completed. MLB will not have any further comment on this matter.”
The Rays purchased the contract of Casey Kotchman from Triple-A Durham to replace Ramirez on the roster.
“The Tampa Bay Rays were informed today by the commissioner’s office that Manny Ramirez has decided to retire after being informed of an issue under the drug program,” the Rays said in a statement. “We are obviously surprised and disappointed by this news. We will have no further comment on this matter, and our fans and organization will carry on.”
Ramirez, 38, left the team earlier this week to attend to what the Rays called a family matter. Manager Joe Maddon said on Thursday that he expected Ramirez to be available for Friday night’s game at Chicago.
The 12-time All-Star agreed to a $2 million, one-year contract with the defending AL East champions in the offseason, hoping to re-establish himself as one of the game’s feared hitters.
Ramirez was entering his 18th season in the majors. He played with the Cleveland Indians, Boston Red Sox, Dodgers, Chicago White Sox and Rays. He has a .312 career batting average with 1,831 RBIs and 555 homers.