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The Early Lead
Posted at 01:00 PM ET, 01/12/2012

Manny Ramirez wants back in baseball

Manny is ready to be Manny again.


Manny Ramirez is looking to get back in the game. (Hans Deryk - AP)
The right-handed slugger who left Major League Baseball early last season rather than face a 100-game suspension for using performance-enhancing drugs for the second time is looking to get back in the game.

Ramirez played only five games for the Tampa Bay Rays last season before abruptly retiring when word leaked that he had once again tested positive for a banned substance.

In an interview with ESPN’s Pedro Gomez, the 39-year-old said he wants to set things right and leave the game on his own terms.

“I want to show people that Manny can change, that he can do the right thing,” Ramirez told ESPN. “And to show people that I can still play. I don’t want to leave the game like I did. I also want to show my kids that if you make a mistake, don’t quit. Just go back and fix it. And if you’re going to leave, leave the right way.”

It could be argued that Ramirez made several mistakes, and using a female fertility drug to mask them was only one of those missteps. Ramirez served a 50-game suspension while playing for the Dodgers in 2009. That penalty doubled to 100 games after his second positive test early in the 2011 season. But rather than sit for for nearly two-thirds of the season, Ramirez called it quits.

A season away from the field wasn’t without controversy for Ramirez, either. In September, the 12-time All-Star was arrested and charged with battery after an altercation with his wife, Juliana.

But after plenty of reflection, Manny wants to return to the diamond, and he wants to be a role model, too.

When asked why he wants to come back, Ramirez told Gomez:

“First, because I can still play. Second, because I’m going to be a role model. A bunch of guys are going to look at me and say hey, this guy made a mistake but he didn’t quit. Look how he finished. He did the right thing and came back.”

Last month Ramirez applied for reinstatement from MLB’s retired list and his suspension was reduced to 50 games, based on the league’s interpretation of time served. And while he remains hopeful that an team will take a chance on a past-his-prime power hitter with 555 career home runs and 1,831 RBI, Ramirez told ESPNdeportes.com he would also consider playing in Japan or elsewhere.

Will Manny make it back to the bigs this season? If so, what team will take a chance on him?

More from Washington Post Sports:

Early Lead: Manny Ramirez arrested, charged with battery at Florida home

Nationals Journal: Nationals ‘aggressively’ pursuing Prince Fielder

Video: Players react to Manny Ramirez retirement

By  |  01:00 PM ET, 01/12/2012

 
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