Baseball: Taiwan team in talks with ex-Boston slugger

Former Boston Red Sox slugger Manny Ramirez has been holding talks about playing for a Taiwanese professional baseball team in the spring season, the team's leading coach said Wednesday.

"Discussions between our team and Mr Ramirez's agent have been underway for a while, and it seems that everything is pretty smooth," Hsu Sheng-ming of the EDA Rhinos, based in the southern city of Kaohsiung, told AFP.

He declined to comment on media reports that the 40-year-old star, twice upset by drugs scandals, is simultaneously seeking contracts from teams in the the US Major Leagues.

"I'm in no position to speak for him, but whether he'll join Rhinos is expected to emerge early next month," Hsu said.

"Salary is not his major concern. He has made it clear that he wants to be happy when he plays baseball."

Hsu said that if Ramirez decides to play in Taiwan, it would definitely boost revenue by the island's Chinese Professional Baseball League, which has been hit by a series of match-fixing scandals since 1997.

Ramirez last played in Taiwan during several exhibition games in 2010 which pitched the visiting LA Dodgers against local teams.

"He was a big star and is supposed to interest lots of local fans," Hsu said. And I believe that given his past MLB records, he would still be able to display his power and skills at good levels."

Ramirez slugged 555 homers with a .312 batting average during his 19-year career with Major League Baseball.