Manny to play independent baseball in Japan

Former MLB slugger agrees to sign with Kochi Fighting Dogs

Manny to play independent baseball in Japan

Manny Ramirez has agreed to sign with the Kochi Fighting Dogs of the independent Shikoku Island League Plus in Japan, according to a statement on the team's official website.

The 44-year-old Ramirez played 19 Major League seasons with the Indians, Red Sox, Dodgers, White Sox and Rays. He retired from Major League Baseball in 2011 after a second suspension stemming from a violation of the league's drug policy.

Since then, the outfielder has played in the A's and Rangers organizations as well as the Chinese Professional Baseball League in '13. He was a hitting instructor in the Cubs' Minor League system for the past two years.

Ramirez finished his Major League career with a .312/.411/.585 slash line, 555 home runs (15th all-time) and two World Series championships with the Red Sox. He was named the MVP of the '04 World Series for Boston.

Ramirez is on the National Baseball Hall of Fame ballot this year for the first time.

Manny Randhawa is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @MannyOnMLB This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.