Suspended slugger Manny Ramirez, Oakland Athletics reach a deal



Manny Ramirez found a taker in Oakland – at a bargain price.

The suspended slugger agreed on a minor league contract Monday with the Ath­letics that is worth about $500,000 if he’s added to the big league roster.

The A’s said Ramirez is expected to report to spring training by the end of the week, in time for Oakland’s first full-squad workout Satur­day. He is a non-roster invitee.

The 12-time All-Star, who had been in retirement, is due to serve a 50-game suspension for his second positive drug test before he can play for the A’s. Barring rainouts, his first game could be May 30 – his 40th birthday.

That didn’t deter general manager Billy Beane and the Ath­letics.

“I am very pleased Billy was able to add Manny to our team,” owner Lew Wolff said in an e-mail. “I look forward to welcoming him and the entire team that Billy and his people have assembled for the coming season.”

The A’s made public their interest in the enigmatic outfielder, who had been working out in Florida this winter. Starving for offense, Oakland finished third in the AL West last season at 74-88 and ranked 12th out of 14 American League teams in runs.


ROCKIES: Manager Jim Tracy could become a Colo­rado lifer. He would love that, and general manager Dan O’Dowd would love that, too.

Tracy has received what O’Dowd called an “indefinite” contract extension. The new deal at the very least adds the 2013 season and then what both parties hope are many more years beyond that.

“Quite honestly, it could be for whatever number of years Jim wants it to be for,” O’Dowd said.


ANGELS: Decked out in Angels’ gear from head to toe, Albert Pujols looked like the same slugger whose swing in St. Louis became as symbolic as the Gateway Arch.

With a halo-topped “A” logo on his cap, Pujols sat behind a microphone and announced the start of a new stage of his career.

“Here I am,” he said.

Pujols reported to training camp Monday with Los Angeles, which will pay the three-time NL MVP $240 million over the next 10 years to be the face of the franchise – and, it hopes, bring in several World Series titles.

“I’m just really excited to be here. It feels good to be outside,” Pujols said. “I’ve been training for three months, hitting in a cage in St. Louis, and it feels good to be here for some spring baseball.”

Though only the Angels’ pitchers and catchers had to be at camp this early, Pujols wanted to be there from Day One as well. That’s how the 32-year-old has done it since breaking into the big leagues in 2001, and he wasn’t about to change his routine.


RED SOX: Bobby Valentine says his players will take the team bus when the Red Sox play exhibitions on the road. It’s common for stars to drive themselves to spring training road games, mostly to get a fast start home after they’re pulled early.