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ARLINGTON, Texas — Manny Ramirez is apparently cutting his long dreadlocks for another shot at the major leagues.
The Texas Rangers said Wednesday they had agreed to terms on a minor league contract with the 41-year-old slugger, who hasn’t played in the big leagues since 2011 with Tampa Bay.
Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said part of the deal was Ramirez, twice suspended for testing positive for banned drugs, agreeing to cut his hair and “comply with our minor league rules on appearance and discipline.”
Ramirez was set to report to Triple-A Round Rock on Thursday, and he will be a designated hitter whenever he is activated. He played for three months in Taiwan before leaving the Rhinos on June 20.
“It’s kind of a no-risk flier,” said Daniels, indicating there was no time frame for him to be called up to the majors. “We like giving guys second chances. We know on and off the field the good and bad in Manny’s career. But we’re inclined to give him an opportunity here.”
Ramirez hit .352 with eight homers and 43 RBIs for the Rhinos. The team tried to keep the 12-time All-Star, but he wanted to return to his family in New York.
Daniels said Ramirez was looking for an opportunity to play either in the United States or Japan.
Ramirez was suspended for 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.
A lifetime .312 hitter, Ramirez is 14th on the career home runs list with 555.
WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. — Andy North needed as much time as it takes for a tap-in putt to accept an invitation to be a vice captain for U.S. Ryder Cup captain Tom Watson at next year’s matches.
The television analyst and two-time U.S. Open champion jumped at Watson’s invite over dinner earlier this year.
“I was absolutely giddy over the opportunity not only hopefully to have a role to get the Cup back but also to be able to help a dear friend,” North said during a conference call Wednesday at The Greenbrier Classic. “If I can take a little bit of the responsibility off of his shoulders and make it an easier week for him, that will be awesome for me.”
The Ryder Cup will be held in September 2014 in Gleneagles, Scotland. The Europeans have won seven of the last nine Ryder Cups, including the last two.
North won the 1978 and 1985 U.S. Opens and played on the U.S. Ryder Cup team that lost to Europe in 1985.
“When you win a couple of U.S. Opens, he knows what it takes to close the deal, and that’s what we need on the Ryder Cup team,” Watson said. “We need players who can close the deal.”
Now a golf analyst for ESPN, North believes being at PGA Tour events makes him qualified to help Watson make solid choices for the team.
A points system will determine the top nine spots on the U.S. team and Watson will make three captain’s picks.
“The one thing I do bring is a lot of experience of being around these players and hopefully I can help Tom get a good grasp on some of them,” North said. “It’s nice to have four eyes looking at players versus just two.
“The most important thing for me is that if he asks me a question, I give him an honest answer immediately. You don’t have time to sit down and go through 45 different scenarios of something if he needs an answer right away. We’re going to have to come up with some answers. That excites me. I can’t tell you how much fun this is going to be over the next 16 months.”MORE IN Sports Wire
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