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Manny Ramirez released by Australian baseball team before playing a game

Manny Ramirez, 48, had signed with the Sydney Blue Sox in the Australian Baseball League. On the day of their first game, the team announced Ramirez would not be available to play. He has been cut less than a month later.
Manny Ramirez, 48, had signed with the Sydney Blue Sox in the Australian Baseball League. On the day of their first game, the team announced Ramirez would not be available to play. He has been cut less than a month later.DAN HIMBRECHTS/Associated Press

SYDNEY — Manny Ramirez has been released by the Sydney Blue Sox because of uncertainty over the Australian Baseball League season during the COVID-19 pandemic and a medical issue that is preventing him from playing or training with the club.

Blue Sox chief executive Adam Dobb issued a statement Monday announcing the decision, saying it was extremely disappointing to cut the 48-year-old former Red Sox and 12-time All-Star, “but we owe it to our fans and the other teams to make a decision now.”

“The level of investment to get him here meant this was never a PR stunt,” Cobb said. “It was never was our intention to have him NOT participate in the ABL this season.”

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Ramirez did not make an appearance with the Blue Sox. Prior to the team’s first game on Dec. 17, the team and Ramirez announced he would be unavailable to play “until further notice,” citing “ongoing sensitive and confidential medical reasons.”

The Blue Sox said it is not COVID-related, and that “Manny has been quietly managing these issues for a long time.”

The Blue Sox played just two games — on Dec. 17 and 18 — before a coronavirus outbreak in Sydney and subsequent border and travel restrictions prevented the club from competing.

Cobb said he was unable to comment further on Ramirez or the undisclosed medical condition, adding that the club was “doing everything we can to get restarted.”

Ramirez, who was the World Series MVP when the Red Sox broke their 86-year title drought in 2004, had played in the American minor leagues, as well as in China and Japan, since his MLB career ended.