Manny seeks return; ban cut to 50 games

Manny Ramirez seeks to un-retire and play in the major leagues in 2012, even though he would have to serve suspension.

On the same weekend Pedro Martinez announced his intention to retire, one of his most colorful and controversial Boston Red Sox teammates has decided to make a comeback.

Manny Ramirez, who retired in April following a second violation of Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program, plans to resume his playing career, MLB announced Sunday, confirming an earlier report by

If a club signs him, Ramirez will be eligible to play after a 50-game suspension — down from his original 100-game ban, under baseball's drug testing program, MLB said.

Ramirez, 39, has hired Barry Praver and Scott Shapiro as his agents and has applied for reinstatement from MLB’s voluntary retired list, a source said.

He appeared in five games with the Tampa Bay Rays last year, going 1-for-17 with zero extra-base hits.

"The Office of the Commissioner and the Players Association have agreed that Ramirez will receive a 50-game suspension under the Joint Drug Program upon his reinstatement from the Voluntary Retired list,'' MLB said in a statement.

"Such suspension shall begin with the first game that Ramirez is eligible to play after a Club signs him to a contract.''

The reduction from 100 games was part of a compromise between MLB and the players' union, sources say.

The union believes Ramirez effectively served the 100-game penalty this year, when he retired in April and forfeited his salary; MLB had said Ramirez didn’t technically complete the suspension because he retired instead. Thus, the 50-game compromise.

Ramirez, who hasn't played organized baseball in eight months, was arrested in Broward County, Fla., in September and charged with domestic battery.

His use of banned substances, which came to light late in his career, sullied what once appeared to be certain Hall of Fame credentials. He was the 2004 World Series MVP, made 12 All-Star teams and hit 555 home runs in a 19-year career.

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