TAMPA, Fla. (AP) Alex Rodriguez maintains he will not attempt a comeback.
Released last August with more than a season left in his $275 million, 10-year contract, A-Rod worked his first day as a New York Yankees spring training guest instructor. Asked whether he is retired, the 41-year-old responded: ”Yes, I am.”
”I am gratified for the opportunity to do what I’m doing now with the young kids and talk a little bit about what’s expected here,” Rodriguez said Tuesday. ”For me, I learned my biggest lessons from some of my mistakes, and they were big ones.”
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Rodriguez said he received inquiries about possibly playing from ”a few teams” after his release but decided not to pursue them. Any team could sign him for this year for the big league minimum of $535,000, which would be offset from the $20 million he is owed from the Yankees.
The Yankees honored him with a ceremony on Aug. 12 marking his final game, and Rodriguez contemplated whether to try to play elsewhere.
”I thought about it a little bit that weekend,” Rodriguez said. ”I was fortunate enough to have a few offers and I called them back and said `no thank you.”’
Rodriguez hit 696 home runs in a 22-year big league career, including 351 during 12 seasons with New York.
Suspended for all of the 2014 season for violating Major League Baseball’s substance abuse program, Rodriguez had 33 homers and 86 RBIs in 2015. However, he hit just .200 over 65 games last year. ”After serving the suspension, I just put so much effort in that I honestly think I emptied the tank,” Rodriguez said.
Dressed in pinstripe pants and a Yankees’ batting practice jersey, Rodriguez watched Tuesday’s workout from several locations, including near shortstop, close to third base and behind the batting cage. He said with a smile that he tried to emulate his first big league manager, Lou Piniella, as he walked from spot to spot.
”Today was fun,” Rodriguez said. ”It was really cool to put No. 13 back on. The pinstripes mean so much to me.”
Rodriguez has no desire to manage and said the only time he swung a bat during the offseason was while in his office to help himself think.
”If you hit .200, you wouldn’t pick up a bat either,” a smiling Rodriguez said.
Likely opening day starter Masahiro Tanaka threw a 26-pitch bullpen session and is scheduled to make his first spring training start Tuesday against Detroit . OF Jacoby Ellsbury reported after missing two days for the birth of his child. . LHP Jon Niese, bidding for a bullpen spot after agreeing to a minor league deal Monday, threw 25 pitches off a bullpen mound.