Bill Carey
Wednesday June 19th, 2013

Manny Ramirez left his Taiwanese baseball team, possibly to head to Japan. (AFP/Getty Images) Manny Ramirez left his Taiwanese baseball team, possibly to head to Japan. (AFP/Getty Images)

Manny Ramirez is leaving his Taiwanese baseball team, the EDA Rhinos, possibly to pursue opportunities to play professionally in Japan, reports Focus Taiwan (via USA TODAY).

The 41-year-old former Red Sox slugger had signed a three-month deal with the Rhinos. His contract runs until June 30, but he has told the team he will leave on Friday. The team says Ramirez is homesick.

But there is speculation that he will sign with the Chiba Lotte Marines of Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball league. His salary would be much higher than the $25,000 per month he makes in Taiwan, and the level of competition would be closer to Major League-level.

The Rhinos had reportedly tried to keep Ramirez happy and convince him to stay with the team longer. Focus Taiwan reports that he was a "huge draw" for the club.

LEMIRE: Streaking Padres playing their best ball of the year despite injuries Ramirez hit .352 with eight home runs and 43 RBI in 49 games. He last played in the Major Leagues in 2011 with the Tampa Bay Rays. He retired after testing positive for a banned substance. He would have faced a 100-game suspension for his second offense.

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