NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) — Manny Ramirez, one of the best baseball players ever to come out of New York City, is in hot water yet again.
This time it’s not with Major League Baseball. It’s with the law.
The former World Series MVP — and the pride of Washington Heights — made his first court appearance Tuesday after authorities arrested him over a domestic dispute at his South Florida home and was ordered to have no direct contact with his wife.
Ramirez was later released on $2,500 bail, set by Broward Circuit Judge Jon Hurley on the domestic battery charge.
Broward sheriff’s officials say 39-year-old Ramirez was arguing with his wife, Juliana, Monday afternoon when he slapped her face, causing her to hit her head on their bed’s headboard. She told the deputy she was afraid the situation would escalate.
Authorities say Ramirez denied hitting his wife.
Ramirez retired in April from the Tampa Bay Rays after he tested positive for a performance-enhancing substance. Rather than face a 100-game suspension for a second violation of Major League Baseball’s drug policy, the 12-time All-Star left the game.
“The tragedy lies in what he represents,” wrote CBSNewYork.com’s Jason Keidel after Ramirez’s departure from MLB. “The endless conga line of liars to retire under the big, blinding marquee of mendacity.”
Ramirez previously served a 50-game ban in 2009 with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Second-time offenders get double that penalty.
One of the games great sluggers, Ramirez was named MVP of the World Series in 2004 and helped Boston end an 86-year title drought.
He was selected 13th overall by the Cleveland Indians in the 1991 amateur draft out of NYC and rose quickly through the minor leagues with a youthful exuberance and natural charisma.
He broke into the majors in 1993 and played his first full season the following year, when he finished second to the Royals’ Bob Hamlin in voting for Rookie of the Year. Ramirez went on to establish himself as one of the game’s most feared hitters, adopting a dreadlock hairdo that seemed to mirror his happy-go-lucky demeanor.
He signed with the Red Sox as a free agent in December 2000, helping the long-suffering franchise win the World Series a few years later, then doing it again in 2007.
The Red Sox traded him to the Dodgers in July 2008. He instantly became a fan favorite on the West Coast, with “Mannywood” signs popping up around town, as he led Los Angeles to the NL West title and a sweep of the Chicago Cubs in the playoffs. The clutch performances earned Ramirez a $45 million, two-year contract.
All that goodwill fizzled the following May, when Ramirez tested positive for human chorionic gonadotropin, a banned female fertility drug often used to help mask steroid use.
The Rays had hoped Ramirez could add some pop to a lineup that lost several key pieces off last year’s AL East champions, but he played in only five games for the Rays, with one hit in 17 at-bats.
Ramirez was a .312 career hitter with 13 seasons of 100-plus RBIs and 555 home runs, 14th on the all-time list.
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