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Manny Ramirez Retires From Baseball Amid 'Issue' With MLB Drug Program

Manny Ramirez once again shocked the baseball world, abruptly retiring on Friday. Ramirez, who had just one hit in 17 at-bats so far this season with the Tampa Bay Rays, apparently had another "issue" under baseball's drug policy. Per MLB's official press release:

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Major League Baseball recently notified Manny Ramirez of an issue under Major League Baseball's Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. Rather than continue with the process under the Program, Ramirez has informed MLB that he is retiring as an active player. If Ramirez seeks reinstatement in the future, the process under the Drug Program will be completed. MLB will not have any further comment on this matter.

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Ramirez was suspended for 50 games while with the Dodgers in 2009 for violating the Joint Drug Agreement. If Ramirez were to be suspended again, it would be for 100 games. It appears that Ramirez chose to walk away rather than serve another suspension. Ramirez signed a one-year, $2 million contract with Tampa Bay this offseason.

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The Dodgers were provided big memories thanks to Ramirez. Thanks largely in part to Manny, the Dodgers made it to back-to-back NLCS in 2008 and 2009, their only playoff success since the 1988 World Series. However, that success came at a cost. The Dodgers rewarded Ramirez with a $45 million, two-year contract after his stellar 2008 season, a contract they are still paying today and will continue to pay through 2013 in deferred money.

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Also, the legacy of Ramirez in the eyes of the fans will never be the same. Fans can debate all they want about the actual affect of steroids or other supposed performance enchancers on hitting a baseball, but nobody wants their guy to get caught. It's not so much that fans want players to be innocent, but in many cases ignorance is bliss.

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In the batter's box, Manny Ramirez provided a whole lot of bliss.

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For more information on the Dodgers, be sure to read the SB Nation blog True Blue LA.