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Ramirez goes 1-for-3 in debut for Rangers affiliate

The SportsXchange

Manny Ramirez's latest comeback attempt got off to a good start.

On the first pitch he saw while playing for the Triple-A Round Rock Express, Ramirez stroked a line-drive single to right field Sunday off Omaha Storm Chasers right-hander Yordano Ventura. He finished 1-for-3 with a walk in the Express' 4-0 win.

Ramirez signed a minor league deal with the Texas Rangers on Wednesday, and he is attempting to work his way back to the major leagues for the first time since April 2011. He's playing for Texas' top minor league affiliate.

"It's awesome," Ramirez said, according to the Austin American Statesman. "I was playing in Taiwan, and it's way different. I'm just happy that I'm here."

The 41-year-old veteran batted cleanup Sunday while serving as Round Rock's designated hitter. He began this season playing for Taiwan's EDA Rhinos in the Chinese Professional Baseball League, where he hit .352 with eight home runs and 43 RBIs.

After joining the Texas organization, Ramirez promptly cut off his deadlocks, abiding by the rules in place for all Rangers major-leaguers and minor-leaguers. Ramirez said he would donate his salary to charity.

Ramirez was last seen in the big leagues a Tampa Bay Rays uniform in 2011. The 12-time All-Star has been suspended twice for using illegal substances, the second time prompting his retirement from the Rays after he began the season 1-for-17.

Last year, he opened the season with the Oakland Athletics' Triple-A Sacramento affiliate. He batted .302 with no homers and 14 RBIs in 17 games. Ramirez didn't get a call-up to the majors, prompting him to ask for and receive his release.

The 2011 suspension was originally for 100 games, but Major League Baseball cut it to 50 games when he sat out the remainder of that year. After he didn't play in 2012, the suspension is now considered fully served, the Dallas Morning News reported this week.

Ramirez is 14th on the all-time home run list with 555. He led the league in slugging percentage three times and in on-base percentage three times, and he helped the Boston Red Sox win World Series championships in 2004 and 2007.

Ramirez spent 1993-2000 with the Cleveland Indians before playing 7 1/2 seasons with Boston. He spent parts of three seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers, then had stints with the Chicago White Sox and Tampa Bay.

"The past is over," he told reporters Sunday. "I'm worried about the future. The future is more bigger than the past, so I'm not worried about that. I just keep moving on."

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