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MLB roundup: Manny headed to China, Bobby V. lands AD job

The SportsXchange

A former Boston Red Sox slugger and manager are headed in very different directions.

Outfielder Manny Ramirez reached a verbal agreement to sign with the EDA Rhinos of the China Professional League, according to ESPNDeportes.com. Meanwhile, ex-manager Bobby Valentine was introduced Tuesday as the athletic director of Sacred Heart University in Connecticut.

Ramirez's agreement won't be final until March 7. The 40-year-old free agent has until then to sign with a major league team.

"It will be a new experience, experience another culture while I keep doing what I love and all I've done in my life, playing baseball," Ramirez told ESPNDeportes.com.

Ramirez said his agents contacted almost every American League team in need of a bat but received no interest.

Ramirez hasn't played in the major leagues since 2011 with the Tampa Bay Rays, when he abruptly retired rather than face a 100-game suspension for testing positive for a banned substance.

He signed with the Oakland A's last winter, but was released from their Triple-A Sacramento affiliate in June. He has 555 home runs and a .312 batting average in a 19-year career.

As for Valentine, he will focus on larger issues like fundraising and being the voice and face of the Sacred Heart program.

At the press conference introducing him, he said he thought he did a "hell of a job in Boston."

"I thought what had to be done there was done except for winning a pennant," Valentine told reporters. "But Connie Mack wasn't going to win with that team."

The Red Sox went 69-93 last year in Valentine's only season, the worst single-season mark since 1965. The team finished in last for the first time since 1992.

Valentine, 62, will face new challenges at Sacred Heart. He has no college administrative experience. The school has more than 700 student-athletes in 31 Division I varsity sports, including 17 women's and 14 men's programs.

--The Washington Nationals signed pitcher Chris Young to a minor league deal, the team announced.

ESPN.com reported that Young will earn a base salary of $2 million if he makes the big-league team, and can earn as much as $3.8 million in incentives if he starts 30 games and pitches 180 innings. He also can opt out March 24.

The 33-year-old posted a 4.15 ERA in 20 starts for the New York Mets last season, after missing most of the 2010 and 2011 seasons with shoulder injuries.

--Cleveland Indians pitcher Justin Masterson has been named the team's Opening Day starter.

Masterson posted a 4.93 ERA and a 1.45 WHIP in 206 1/3 innings in 2012, and will be making his second Opening Day assignment. He'll be followed by Ubaldo Jimenez and Brett Myers in the rotation, with the final two spots to be determined.
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