Manny Ramirez is hoping to make one last major league comeback, and he’s doing so with a clear conscience.
The 41-year-old retired slugger admitted Wednesday in an exclusive interview with FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal that he used performance-enhancing drugs during his playing days.
Ramirez told Rosenthal that he is finally able to come clean about his PED history in the hope that other players will learn from his mistakes.
“When you make a mistake in life, no matter what you do, you’re going to pay the price,” Ramirez said. “That’s what happened to all of the players that did it. I’m not going to judge people. Everybody is human. Everybody makes mistakes.
“You’re going to feel guilty about what you did. But you did it. You move on. And you learn from it.”
Ramirez has not played in the majors since 2011, having failed to stick in stints with the Oakland Athletics and Texas Rangers. He was hit with a 50-game suspension after testing positive for a female fertility drug in 2009 and reportedly was facing a 100-game ban when he retired in 2011.
Those final few seasons were not nearly as productive as Ramirez’s earlier years with the Boston Red Sox and Cleveland Indians — when he earned 11 consecutive All-Star nods — but the two-time World Series champion called his punishment from the league “the best thing [that] happened to me.”
“I appreciate what I have more,” Ramirez said. “And I know I’ve got to take care of it. Before I do something, I’ve got to think twice: ‘If I do this, this is going to come out.’
“Before you did things, and you didn’t worry about the consequences. Now you’ve got the knowledge and experience. You know you’ve got to do the right thing.”
Ramirez said he envisions himself in a Raul Ibanez-type role if he ever returns to the majors. Ibanez, also 41, hit 29 home runs for the Seattle Mariners last season.