MLB legend Manny Ramirez released by Australian baseball team
Jan. 12 (UPI) -- Former MLB All-Star Manny Ramirez has been released by the Sydney Blue Sox of the Australian Baseball League.
The Blue Sox signed Ramirez, 48, to a one-year deal in October. The team started the season in mid-December, but Ramirez did not play in either of its first two games due to an oblique injury.
The Blue Sox haven't played since Dec. 17 because of a COVID-19 outbreak in Sydney, which has prohibited competition.
The Blue Sox announced Ramirez's release over the weekend and cited an "ongoing medical issue" that has prevented him from playing.
"This is extremely disappointing for the Sydney Blue Sox, but we owe it to our fans and the other teams to make a decision now," Blue Sox CEO Adam Dobb said Sunday in a news release.
"The level of investment to get him here meant this was never a public relations stunt. It was never was our intention to have him not participate in the ABL this season.
"We are unable to comment further and wish to respect all of our current players and staff by continuing preparations for the remainder of the ABL season. We are doing everything we can to get restarted."
The Blue Sox's next scheduled game is against the Perth Heat on Jan. 20 at Empire Ballpark in Perth.
"I just got released from the team because I got injured and I can't participate in the games," Ramirez told the Sydney Morning Herald. "Like everybody, your emotions get down [when released], but you've got to move on.''
Ramirez's decorated MLB career included 12 All-Star selections, nine Silver Slugger awards, a batting title, two World Series wins and a World Series MVP award.
His MLB playing career ended in 2014. Ramirez has also played in the Japanese Shikoku Island League Plus and Chinese Professional Baseball League.
Ramirez, who was suspended twice during his MLB career for performance-enhancing drug policy violations, denied that another violation led to his release from the Blue Sox.