Alex Rodriguez is back in Yankees camp this spring as a guest instructor and seems content in that role. More than six months after his last at-bat in the majors, A-Rod isn’t pining for another.
Rodriguez, 41, said his goodbyes on Aug. 12 of last season, doubling in his first plate appearances and playing third base for one out in the ninth inning before being removed from the game to a nice ovation at Yankee Stadium. He was released the next day, four homers shy of 700 for his career.
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That led many to believe that A-Rod would sign with a team late last season or even this season to try to reach 700. But that isn’t going to happen, as the three-time AL MVP told reporters Tuesday there is “zero” chance of him playing again.
“I thought about it for a minute,” Rodriguez said, via MLB.com. “I flew the whole family home after that Friday night. I thought about it a little bit that weekend. I was fortunate enough to have a few offers, and I called them back and just said, ‘No, thank you.’ I was grateful and appreciative for the opportunity, but again, the pinstripes mean so much to me.”
A-Rod says his focus no longer is on his playing career, but on those of the younger players in Yankees camp.
“I’m in a unique position from all the things I’ve done in this game, both good and bad,” Rodriguez said. “I learned my biggest lessons with some of my mistakes, and they were big ones. … There’s so much that is expected here in New York, and it’s so difficult to play in New York. As staff and mentors, that’s the best thing we can do is to get them ready for what’s expected. Because it is a handful.”
Alex Rodriguez, mentor. As crazy as that would have sounded a couple years ago, it seems both he and the organization have embraced the opportunity.