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Manny Ramirez to retire rather than continue drug program, MLB says

By the CNN Wire Staff
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Manny Ramirez has announced his retirement from Major League Baseball
  • Tampa Bay Rays spokesman: We are "obviously surprised and disappointed by this news"
  • In 2009, Ramirez was suspended for 50 games after violating the league's drug policy

(CNN) -- All-star slugger Manny Ramirez has announced his retirement from Major League Baseball rather than continue with the league's drug prevention and treatment program, according to a league statement issued Friday.

"Major League Baseball recently notified Manny Ramirez of an issue under Major League Baseball's Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. Rather than continue with the process under the Program, Ramirez has informed MLB that he is retiring as an active player. If Ramirez seeks reinstatement in the future, the process under the Drug Program will be completed," the statement said.

Ramirez -- who has knocked in 555 career home runs -- signed with the Tampa Bay Rays for the 2011 season along with former Red Sox teammate Johnny Damon. A spokesman for the team said the Rays are "obviously surprised and disappointed by this news."

"The Tampa Bay Rays were informed today by the Commissioner's Office that Manny Ramirez has decided to retire after being informed of an issue under the Drug Program," the statement said. "We will have no further comment on this matter, and our fans and organization will carry on."

In 2009, Ramirez was suspended for 50 games after violating the league's drug policy.