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Ramirez could get jail time

Former Sox star faces criminal prosecution

Following arrest
By Curt Anderson
Associated Press / September 14, 2011

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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Former Red Sox star Manny Ramirez, a colorful slugger who abruptly retired this year amid allegations of banned substance use, is now facing criminal prosecution on charges that he slapped his wife during an argument Monday.

Ramirez, 39, could get up to a year in jail if convicted of misdemeanor domestic battery charges. He was released on $2,500 bail yesterday after spending the night in the Broward County Jail, with little to say to waiting reporters.

“No thanks,’’ Ramirez said when asked for comment. “Let me see, where’s my family?’’

Ramirez hopped into a white Cadillac Escalade driven by his sister and was whisked away. A few minutes earlier, the Broward Sheriff’s Office released a tape of the 911 call made by his wife, Juliana Ramirez, 32, from their sprawling home in the Ft. Lauderdale suburb of Weston.

“My husband just hit me,’’ Juliana Ramirez says calmly on the tape.

When the dispatcher asks where she was struck, Juliana replies, “My face and my head, in the bed. I have a bump on my head.’’ The dispatcher then asks if Juliana has a safe room to get away from her husband.

“He’s not doing anything anymore because he knows I’m calling the police,’’ she says. Later, Juliana told sheriff’s deputies she called 911 because she was afraid the situation would escalate.

At a brief court appearance yesterday, Ramirez was ordered to have no direct contact with his wife by County Judge John Hurley. An attorney who attended the hearing on his behalf did not immediately respond to an e-mail requesting comment. After his release, Ramirez walked out of the jail alone and was confronted by reporters. He had told investigators only that he grabbed his wife by the shoulders during an argument and “shrugged’’ her, causing her to hit her head on the headboard of their bed. But he wouldn’t discuss the incident.

When a reporter said “You have to give us something,’’ Ramirez replied: “Not my problem.’’

He spoke to another TV reporter in Spanish and put his arm around two of the female reporters. He was wearing a tight, muscle-showing T-shirt and dark, low-slung pants.

The Escalade’s driver, who identified herself as his sister, spoke briefly.

“He’s my brother; we love him no matter what. He’s an amazing guy and we love him no matter what,’’ she said before rolling up the window. She refused to give her name.

Ramirez retired in April from the 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.

Ramirez previously served a 50-game ban in 2009 with the Dodgers. Second-time offenders get double that penalty.

One of the game’s great sluggers, Ramirez was named MVP of the World Series in 2004 and helped the Red Sox end an 86-year title drought.

He signed with the Red Sox as a free agent in December 2000, helping them win the World Series a few years later, then doing it again in 2007.

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