BALTIMORE - FILE: Manny Ramirez #24 of the Boston Red Sox hits his 500th home run in the seventh inning against the Baltimore Orioles May 31, 2008 at Camden Yards in Baltimore, Maryland. According to reports on April 8, 2011, Ramirez will retire as an active player in Major League Baseball. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

Manny Ramirez Signs Minor League Deal With Oakland Athletics

Manny Ramirez is back in the sport that made him a legend. The ex-Boston Red Sox star and performance enhancing drug user signed a minor league deal with the Oakland Athletics. Ramirez is a career .312 hitter with 555 home runs.

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Manny Ramirez Returns: Manny Is Back, But Can He Be Effective?

Manny Ramirez is back, and he's ready to roll. Well, maybe not quite. Ramirez did sign a minor league contract to return to baseball, this time with the Oakland Athletics, but there are still three problems: he's been out of baseball for a year, he's 40 and he still has to face a 50-game suspension. Aside from those little (OK, big) issues, things are looking up.

Can Manny help the A's? It's a complicated question for several reasons, but in short, it's possible. Ramirez may be 40 years old, but he's going to have an extended period of time to get himself back in playing shape. In some ways, his second suspension from baseball was a blessing in disguise (although it really should not have worked out that way), because Ramirez basically has an extended spring training to work his way back into shape.

However, if he can get healthy -- and it's a big if -- Manny could definitely help the A's. Time and the elements are working against him, but remember, Oakland probably isn't expecting him to hit 40 home runs. That's just not who he is anymore.

That being said, if Manny can find his swing as a designated hitter (let's face it, the recently retired Tim Wakefield could probably do a better job fielding than Manny could right now), he could certainly reach 20 (or even 30) home runs. So for now, we'll all have to play the waiting game. But don't sleep on Manny. If you do, you'll probably pay for it.

For more Boston Red Sox coverage, visit our team page and blog, Over The Monster.

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Manny Ramirez Signs Minor League Deal With Oakland Athletics

Manny Ramirez is back in the sport that made him a legend. The ex-Boston Red Sox star and performance enhancing drug user signed a minor league deal with the Oakland Athletics. Ramirez is a career .312 hitter with 555 home runs.

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