Rodriguez to play final game on Friday

In this Monday, June 6, 2016 photo New York Yankees designated hitter Alex Rodriguez (13) reacts after striking out swinging in the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels at Yankee Stadium in New York. The New York Yankees have announced they will hold a news conference with Alex Rodriguez before the game against Cleveland on Sunday, Aug. 7, 2016. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens, File)

Don’t call it a retirement.

The Yankees announced at a press conference at the stadium this morning that Alex Rodriguez will play his final game at home on Friday against Tampa Bay. Rodriguez will be unconditionally released after the game and will receive the remainder of the money he is owed through the end of the 2017 season.

Rodriguez will stay on in the Yankees’ organization as an instructor, reporting to Hal Steinbrenner. Rodriguez would be able to sign with another club following his release but the odds of him playing for another team in 2017 seems unlikely.

Four home runs shy of 700, Rodriguez has been largely stuck to the Yankees’ bench for the last four weeks. He is hitting .204 with nine home runs this season. Combined with the club’s recent youth movement – the Yankees traded Aroldis Chapman, Andrew Miller and Carlos Beltran at the deadline and Mark Teixeira recently announced his retirement at the end of this season – Rodriguez did not fit into the Yankees’ future plans.

Rodriguez has had a brilliant, Hall of Fame Caliber career. 3,114 hits. 696 home runs. A .295 career batting average. Three MVP awards. A 2009 World Series champion.

He has had his fair share of controversy as well. Rodriguez admitted to using PEDs as a member of the Texas Rangers and missed the entire 2014 season while serving a suspension. Despite his bounce-back season in 2015, both in terms of reputation and production on the field, Rodriguez will have a tough time gaining entrance to Cooperstown, if Barry Bonds‘ plight is any guide.

Rodriguez won’t disappear after Friday’s game. He’ll work with Yankees’ minor leaguers and is slated to be a guest instructor at spring training in 2017. Rodriguez has prided himself on being a mentor and a teacher to younger players since he arrived in New York in 2004. His future in the game could well be as a hitting coach or as a manager.

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