Ramirez reports to Rangers' Triple-A affiliate

Ramirez reports to Rangers' Triple-A affiliate

Credit: AFP/Getty Images

This photo taken on March 27, 2013 shows former Boston Red Sox slugger Manny Ramirez poised to swing during his debut game on the island after joining EDA Rhinos in March, in Taiwan's southern Kaohsiung baseball stadium. US baseball legend Manny Ramirez quit Taiwan's EDA Rhinos on June 19, breaking local fans' hearts just three-months after joining the team despite being the highest paid player in the league's history. AFP PHOTO / Mandy Cheng (Photo credit should read Mandy Cheng/AFP/Getty Images)

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Associated Press

Posted on July 4, 2013 at 9:34 PM

ROUND ROCK (AP) –– Manny Ramirez reported to the Texas Rangers' Triple-A affiliate on Thursday and said he could play as early as Sunday.

The Rangers agreed to terms on a minor league contract on Wednesday with the 41-year-old slugger, who hasn't played in the big leagues since 2011 with Tampa Bay.

Ramirez worked out with the Round Rock Express and told reporters he hopes to play Sunday or Monday.

"The expectation is to come here and play the game," Ramirez said. "Then hopefully I can move on and do what I always do."

Ramirez has twice been suspended for testing positive for banned drugs. The 12-time All-Star was suspended 50 games in 2009 while with the Dodgers after testing positive for a banned drug. He retired in April 2011 instead of serving a 100-game ban for a second positive test, but later agreed to a reduced 50-game suspension and played in the minors for Oakland in 2012.

"You have to go through the fire first," Ramirez said. "When you come out, that's when the blessing comes."

A lifetime .312 hitter, Ramirez is 14th on the career home runs list with 555. He hit 17 homers in the final 53 games of 2008 after Boston traded him to Los Angeles, but he has just 28 since then because of injuries and the suspensions. He was 1 for 17 without a homer for the Rays when the second drug suspension hit two years ago.

"It will be interesting to see if he can help this team win," Rangers outfielder David Murphy said. "From what I've seen in the past, it's hard to believe that he can't help us."

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