A's release Manny at slugger's request
Ramirez seeking chance elsewhere for big league return
OAKLAND -- The Manny Ramirez experiment has come to an uneventful end. The A's announced before Friday's game against the Padres that they granted Ramirez his outright release after the outfielder requested it.
With the improved play of outfielders Seth Smith and Collin Cowgill and the expected imminent return of Yoenis Cespedes, there didn't appear to be a place for Ramirez to play in Oakland anymore.
Ramirez began playing with Triple-A Sacramento in May while serving a 50-game suspension for violating Major League Baseball's policy on performance-enhancing drugs. The organization said initially that Ramirez would be brought up as soon as his suspension ended on May 31, but Ramirez struggled with nagging injuries and didn't show an ability to drive the ball consistently, which the team wanted to see before it called him up.
Ramirez was hitting .302 with three doubles but no homers and 17 strikeouts in 17 games for the River Cats. He has a career .312 Major League average over 19 seasons, with 555 home runs and 1,831 RBIs.
A's assistant general manager David Forst intimated that the team would have continued to hold on to Ramirez at Triple-A, but the outfielder wanted to pursue a better opportunity with another team.
"We wish him the best," Forst said. "He was great in Sacramento. We enjoyed having him. Unfortunately, there wasn't an opportunity to get him here. I wasn't surprised, and he thinks he has a better shot somewhere else. I hope he does."
Praver Shapiro Sports Management released this statement on behalf of Ramirez:
"Manny believes he has demonstrated that he is ready to return to the Major Leagues. However, given that the Oakland Athletics could not give Manny any assurance that they plan to promote him in the immediate future he asked for his release. Manny thanks the A's for providing him with this opportunity."
Oakland made a splash when it signed the controversial and colorful outfielder to a Minor League contract in February. The team viewed it as a low-risk, high-reward move -- it was hoping the slugger might be able to add some pop to the A's lineup.
When asked before Friday's game if anything had changed regarding Ramirez's status, A's manager Bob Melvin simply said, "No." After the game, Melvin didn't have much to add.
"He wanted an opportunity, if we weren't going to do something, to go somewhere else," Melvin said. "It is what it is. I don't have much to say about that. Certainly wish him the best."
Ben Estes is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.