Alex Rodriguez Announces End of Playing Career

The Yankees announced they will release A-Rod following their game on Friday, August 12

In an unexpected press conference ahead of their game against Cleveland, the Yankees announced they will release Alex Rodriguez following their game on Friday.

"This is a tough day. I love this game and I love this team," he said. "And today I'm saying goodbye."

Rodriguez, 41, will become a special adviser and instructor with the team next year. The Yankees will pay him the remainder of the approximately $27 million he's still owed as part of his $275 million, 10-year contract.

Used primarily as a designated hitter this year, Rodriguez is batting .205 with nine homers and 29 RBI. Last year, he belted 33 home runs.

"We all want to keep playing forever," Rodriguez said. "But it doesn't work that way."

A-Rod's immediate future has been a hot topic in baseball circles of late.

He has had just one start and seven at-bats in 14 games since July 22 as New York traded veterans Aroldis Chapman, Andrew Miller, Carlos Beltran and Ivan Nova, turning toward a youth movement. He is in a 4-for-36 (.111) slump and has struck out in five of his last six at-bats.

The announcement comes on the heels of a news conference on Friday during which Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeria revealed that this season will be his last. Teixeria joined the Yankees in 2009 and helped the team win the World Series that year.

Rodriguez has just two home runs since June 3, leaving his career total at 696. He trails only Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755) and Babe Ruth (714) on the career list.

He helped the Yankees win the 2009 World Series, but had been a controversial figure since he arrived ahead of the 2004 season in a trade with Texas.

He won his second and third AL MVP awards with the Yankees but has been a pariah for some since his 2009 admission he used performance-enhancing drugs while with Texas earlier in his career.

Major League Baseball suspended him on Aug. 5, 2013, for the remainder of that season and all of 2014 for what was described as overwhelming evidence that he not only obtained illegal performance-enhancing substances from a South Florida clinic, but also tried to hinder the investigation into the allegations.

Rodriguez returned from hip surgery and played while appealing the suspension, and the following January an arbitrator cut the penalty to all of the 2014 season.

A-Rod made a successful return last year, when the Yankees made him a full-time DH, but his offense slid late in the season and hit .224 from Sept. 1 on. That left him with a .250 average for the year with 33 homers and 86 RBIs.

Rodriguez started his big league career with Seattle in 1994 and signed a $252 million, 10-year contract with Texas before the 2001 season, the largest agreement in baseball history. When the Rangers decided to trade him, a proposed deal to Boston fell through before the trade to New York. He agreed to shift from shortstop to third base as part of the trade to the Yankees, who already had Derek Jeter at shortstop.

A-Rod opted out of the contract after the 2007 season, became a free agent and signed the $275 million deal with the Yankees.

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