ANAHEIM -- First there was Mike Napoli. Then it was A.J. Pierzynski. And in between it's been C.J. Wilson and Josh Hamilton jumping to the other side.
Soon, the Angels-Rangers rivalry could have another interesting face: Manny Ramirez.
Ramirez, who has served two suspensions for violating Major League Baseball's Drug Policy, had spent most of the season playing in Taiwan. And on Wednesday -- a little more than a month removed from his 41st birthday -- he signed a Minor League contract with the Rangers, who will send him to Triple-A Round Rock and may call him up after the All-Star break.
The Angels have had a couple of memorable encounters with Ramirez. There was Game 2 of the 2007 American League Division Series, when he hit a monster walk-off homer off Francisco Rodriguez that bounced off the Coke bottle beyond the Green Monster of Fenway Park. And there was that time in July 18, 2008, when Ramirez fell short on a diving attempt in left field and rolled over on top of the ball.
Ramirez hit .352 with eight homers, 13 doubles and 43 RBIs for the EDA Rhinos in Taiwan, then left the team on June 19 in hopes of landing a big league opportunity.
Now, "Manny Being Manny" may be coming back to Angel Stadium.
"Manny still loves to play baseball," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "I don't think you can argue that he's gone to great lengths to show that he can still play. We just saw some video on him, and that swing looks the same as it did when he was 30. He's going to get another opportunity at some point, I'm sure."
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less