CHICAGO -- The Chicago Cubs want Manny Ramirez to mentor their minor leaguers at the very end of a colorful career that includes two World Series titles and a pair of suspensions for positive drug tests. Ramirez signed a minor league deal with the Cubs on Sunday and will be a player-coach at Triple-A Iowa after he gets some at-bats in extended spring training at the teams facility in Mesa, Arizona. The 41-year-old Ramirez is a .312 hitter with 555 home runs in 2,302 games covering 19 major league seasons. Seven of those were in Boston, where Cubs executive Theo Epstein was the general manager of two Red Sox clubs that won it all with Ramirez playing a key role and earning a World Series MVP award. "While Manny is not and will not be a fit on the Cubs major league roster, we do think at this stage of his life hes a nice fit as a mentor for some of the young talented hitters we have in the organization," Epstein said in a statement. "Manny will coach full-time and play part-time in a limited role that does not take at-bats away from our prospects. "If he shows there is still some magic in his bat, perhaps he will find his way to the major leagues and help another team, but that is not why he is here. We are thrilled that he wants to work with our young hitters and make a difference." Ramirez most recently played in the big leagues in 2011, with Tampa Bay. The 12-time All-Star had a minor league with Texas before the Rangers released him last August. "Im at the stage of my life and career where I really want to give something back to the game that I love -- the game that has meant so much to me and done so much for me and my family," he said in a release. "I know I am nearing the end of my playing days, but I have a lot of knowledge to pass on to the next generation -- both what to do and what not to do." Ramirez was suspended for 50 games in 2009 while with the Los Angeles Dodgers after testing positive for a banned drug. He retired in April 2011 instead of serving a 100-game ban for a second positive test while with Tampa Bay, but later agreed to a reduced 50-game suspension and played in the minors for Oakland in 2012. The teaching role for Ramirez is a bit of a gamble for Epstein, who is depending on Chicagos rich farm system to turn around the floundering franchise. The Cubs lost 197 games over the previous two seasons, and began Sunday in last place in the NL Central with an 18-29 record. "The reality is he is a great, great hitter who can provide valuable insight and knowledge," Chicago manager Rick Renteria said before the game at San Diego. Chicagos top hitting prospects at Iowa include infielders Arismendy Alcantara and Javier Baez, a first-round pick in 2011 who is off to a slow start after he was a late cut by the Cubs following a solid spring training. Third baseman Kris Bryant, the No. 2 overall selection in last years draft, is one of the top hitters in the Double-A Southern League and could make it to Iowa by the end of the season. "The Cubs have some very talented young hitters, and I would love nothing more than to make a positive impact on their careers," Ramirez said. "I am passionate about baseball and about hitting, and I have a lot to offer. While I would love to return to the major leagues, I leave that in Gods hands. My focus will be on working with the young hitters, making sure they dont make the same mistakes I made, and helping the team any way I can." Ramirez was selected 13th overall by the Cleveland Indians in the 1991 amateur draft and rose quickly through the minor leagues, with a youthful exuberance and natural charisma that endeared him to just about everyone he met. He signed with the Red Sox as a free agent in December 2000, helping the franchise win an elusive World Series championship a few years later, then doing it again in 2007. Ramirez led the American League with a .349 batting average in 2002, finished second the next year, and had an AL-best 43 home runs in 2004. But there was another side to Manny -- his lackadaisical play, particularly on defence and the basepaths, rubbed some managers and teammates the wrong way. "Manny has made real mistakes in the past but he has owned up to them and moved his life in a positive direction the last couple of years," Epstein said in a release. "He is in a really great place right now and wants to share the lessons hes learned along the way. We think he deserves another chance and that our young hitters will benefit from it." Air Jordan 1 For Sale Australia
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. -- Phil Mickelson will be watching the final two rounds of the Masters from home for the first time in 17 years.EDMONTON - The Canadian womens soccer team is looking to be tested before next years World Cup, and they definitely were on Saturday.An early goal by Yuki Ogimi was all Japan needed in a 3-0 victory over Canada in a womens soccer friendly at Commonwealth Stadium.With an automatic berth as the hosts of the 2015 FIFA Womens World Cup, the Canadian women dont need to go through the qualifying stages and have been setting up a series of friendlies to keep sharp in advance of the event.Japan was precisely the challenge they were looking for as the reigning World Cup champions and silver medallist at the 2012 London Summer Olympics.Canada won bronze at the same Olympic Games.Canadian head coach John Herdman said it wasnt an ideal performance, but his team has plenty of time to work out the bugs before the big games begin.It was a bit rough, but it is about bringing the best teams here, he said. As soon as you give the Japanese an inch, they take a yard with that quality that they have. We struggled with their pace in the first 10 minutes, but once we got a hold of it we showed what our potential is for the World Cup.There was a 40-minute period there where the girls should be very proud of their performance and what our style can look like. If we can progress and keep that going for the next eight months, we will be in a much better place.Herdman said he hopes to have his squad play in 12 games in advance of next summers World Cup.The player of the game for Canada was defender Allysha Chapman, who earned her first international cap. Chapman said she can only imagine what it could be like to play in front of a full house in cavernous Commonwealth in Edmonton in 2015 after playing her first game in front of a relatively sparse crowd of 9,654 on Saturday.I think it would be amazing, she said. To have that whole stadium full would be unreal.The passing ability of the strong Japanese squad was on full display in the ninth minute as they took a 1-0 lead. Japan used a three-way passing play that had the Canadian defenders running around before Ogimi put the ball in the corner of the net past Canadian goalie Erin McLeod.Canada came close in the 15th minute as McLeod sent a long ball on the Japanese net, but opposing keeper Erina Yamane leapt up to corral the ball before Christine Sinclair could get a head on it. In the 25th minute, Melissa Tancredi headed a ball just wide of the net.Sinclair, playing in her 211th game for Canada, had another opportunity with a sliding shot in tight that Yamane was able to save and the defence was able to clear with Canadian players in the box.Japanese head coach Norio Sasaki said it was important that his team got the early lead, because Canada camme on strong afterwards.ddddddddddddWe started the match in a good way and it was good that we scored first, he said through a translator. If Canada would have scored with the header on the cross from the right side, the game might have gone differently. Most of our players have experience with the World Cup and the Olympics, so we were able to end the game well. Im happy with the result, but it would have been better had we been able to stop the amount of offence Canada had after our first goal.Canada continued to press early in the second half as Josee Belanger got a shot on net that almost fooled Yamane, followed up a minute later by Sophie Schmidt sending a ball just wide.Japan turned the tide in the 66th minute with their best opportunity in some time, but McLeod was able to make a point-blank save on Ogimi. Moments later McLeod got a hand up in time to deflect a good strike from Japans Kozue Ando.That renewed pressure paid off in the 70th minute as Yuri Kawamura headed in her first goal for the Japanese senior team on a play set up by a corner kick.Canada tried to get back into the game and had their closest chance of the second half in the 73rd minute when Sinclair headed a ball wide of the target.Canadian midfielder Diana Matheson left the game in the 78th minute with an apparent leg injury.Japan made it 3-0 in the 80th minute as Saori Ariyoshi made a great crossing pass to give Nahomi Kawasumi an easy tap-in goal.Kawasumi also hit a post in the 90th minute.Coach Sasaki was asked about the challenges of playing on artificial turf, a controversial component of the 2015 World Cup in Canada.The balls dont act regularly, but I think if we get used to it, we can handle it well, he said. It was a good opportunity for us to play here. Our players are very short and we do a lot of sliding. We had some scratches. Maybe they could water the pitch a bit to help cope with that.The two teams play again on Tuesday in Vancouver.NOTES: The last time these two teams met was in both nations opening matches at the 2012 Olympics in London when Japan came away as 2-1 winners. Melissa Tancredi scored the lone goal for Canada … It was the first appearance by the Canadian women in Commonwealth Stadium since Oct. 30, 2013, when they defeated South Korea 3-0… Canada as hosts and Japan as the reigning champions will be two of the 24 finalists that take part in next years FIFA Womens World Cup Canada 2015. The 52 matches in the final competition will be played from June 6 to 5 July… There was a moment of silence before the game to recognize the two soldiers killed this week in separate attacks. The Canadian team wore black armbands to honour the fallen military members. ' ' '