Manny Ramirez out of jail after battery charge

Former World Series MVP Manny Ramirez, a colorful slugger who
abruptly retired this year amid allegations of banned substance
use, is now facing criminal prosecution on charges that he slapped
his wife during an argument.

Ramirez, 39, could get up to a year in jail if convicted of
misdemeanor domestic battery charges. He was released on $2,500
bail Tuesday after spending the night in the Broward County Jail,
with little to say to a knot of waiting reporters.

”No thanks,” Ramirez said when asked for comment. ”Let me
see, where’s my family?”

Ramirez hopped into a white Cadillac Escalade driven by his
sister and was whisked away. A few minutes earlier, the Broward
Sheriff’s Office released a tape of the 911 call made by his wife,
32-year-old Juliana Ramirez, from their sprawling home in the Ft.
Lauderdale suburb of Weston.

”My husband just hit me,” Juliana Ramirez says calmly on the
tape.

When the dispatcher asks where she was struck, Juliana replies,
”My face and my head, in the bed. I have a bump on my head.”

The dispatcher then asks if Juliana has a safe room to get away
from her husband.

”He’s not doing anything anymore because he knows I’m calling
the police,” she says. Later, Juliana told sheriff’s deputies she
called 911 because she was afraid the situation would escalate.

At a brief court appearance Tuesday, Ramirez was ordered to have
no direct contact with his wife by County Judge John Hurley. An
attorney who attended the hearing on his behalf did not immediately
respond Tuesday to an email requesting comment.

After his release, Ramirez walked out of the jail alone and was
confronted by reporters. He had told investigators only that he
grabbed his wife by the shoulders during an argument and
”shrugged” her, causing her to hit her head on the headboard of
their bed. But he wouldn’t discuss the incident Tuesday.

When a reporter said ”You have to give us something,” Ramirez
replied: ”Not my problem.”

He spoke to another TV reporter in Spanish and put his arm
around two of the female reporters. He was wearing a tight,
muscle-showing T-shirt and dark, low-slung pants.

The Escalade’s driver, who identified herself as his sister,
spoke briefly.

”He’s my brother; we love him no matter what. He’s an amazing
guy and we love him no matter what,” she said before rolling up
the window. She refused to give her name.

Ramirez retired in April from the Tampa Bay Rays after he tested
positive for a performance-enhancing substance. Rather than face a
100-game suspension for a second violation of Major League
Baseball’s drug policy, the 12-time All-Star left the game.

Ramirez previously served a 50-game ban in 2009 with the Los
Angeles Dodgers. Second-time offenders get double that penalty.

One of the game’s great sluggers, Ramirez was named MVP of the
World Series in 2004 and helped the Boston Red Sox end an 86-year
title drought.

He was selected 13th overall by the Cleveland Indians in the
1991 amateur draft out of New York City and rose quickly through
the minor leagues with youthful exuberance and natural
charisma.

He broke into the majors in 1993 and played his first full
season the following year, when he finished second to the Royals’
Bob Hamlin in voting for Rookie of the Year. Ramirez went on to
establish himself as one of the game’s most feared hitters,
adopting a dreadlock hairdo that seemed to mirror his
happy-go-lucky demeanor.

He signed with the Red Sox as a free agent in December 2000,
helping the long-suffering franchise win the World Series a few
years later, then doing it again in 2007.

The Red Sox traded him to the Dodgers in July 2008. He instantly
became a fan favorite on the West Coast, with ”Mannywood” signs
popping up around town, as he led Los Angeles to the NL West title
and a sweep of the Chicago Cubs in the playoffs. The clutch
performances earned Ramirez a $45 million, two-year contract.

All that goodwill fizzled the following May, when Ramirez tested
positive for human chorionic gonadotropin, a banned female
fertility drug often used to help mask steroid use.

Follow Curt Anderson on Twitter:
http://twitter.com/Miamicurt