Sporting Life- Sports, Exercise Blog

Manny Ramirez starts training with EDA Rhinos in Kaohsiung |

Posted on: March 22, 2013

Kaohsiung, March 13 (CNA) Former MLB star Manny Ramirez began training with the players of the EDA Rhinos in Kaohsiung on Wednesday, a day after signing a one-year contract with the team.

Ramirez was introduced to his Rhinos teammates by manager Hsu Sheng-ming and was reunited with Hu Chin-lung, his teammate with the Los Angeles Dodgers from 2008 to 2010.

He then swatted a few home runs in batting practice off pitches thrown by Hsu after having trouble getting acclimating to the team’s mechanical pitching machine.

Ramirez said he felt OK after the workout and expected to gradually round into peak form.

He will not be able to play in any of the team’s pre-season exhibition games because his work permit is still being processed, Hsu said, but the manager expected the permit to be approved by the Rhinos’ first regular season home game on March 27.

Hsu said the Rhinos, one of four teams in Taiwan’s Chinese Professional Baseball League, did not sign Ramirez just to help the team win and boost ticket sales but also to help raise the league’s quality and attract higher caliber foreign players to the country.

The 40-year-old Ramirez signed a one-year contract with the team that reportedly will pay him between NT$750,000 (US$25,000) and NT$800,000 a month.

Ramirez, who began in the major leagues with the Cleveland Indians in late 1993, slugged 555 home runs in the majors, ranking 14th all-time, and hit .312 for his career.

He was also named the World Series MVP after leading the Boston Red Sox in 2004 to their first championship since 1918.

His career was overshadowed, however, by two suspensions for using performance-enhancing drugs. He was suspended twice after failing to pass drug tests in 2009 and 2011.

Ramirez arrived Monday evening amid renewed enthusiasm for the sport in Taiwan, following Taiwan’s best run ever in the World Baseball Classic.

As many as 15.54 percent of all households with cable tuned in to Taiwan’s game against Japan on March 8, according to a user lab under the Institute for Information Industry and the Cloud and Connect TV Forum, based on information provided by two domestic cable operators.

The rating, reported Wednesday, was considered to be exceptionally high in a country where the media market is highly segmented.

(By Lin Hung-han, Cheng Che-fon, Chung Jung-feng and Jamie Wang)

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