Sunday, April 22, 2018
Sports

A-Rod plans farewell for 2017

VIERA — Alex Rodriguez said he plans to retire from baseball after the 2017 season, when his $275 million, 10-year contract with the Yankees expires.

Rodriguez, 40, who is fourth on the career home run list with 687, revealed his intentions Wednesday during an interview with ESPN. His plan was confirmed by spokesman Ron Berkowitz.

"I won't play after next year," the three-time AL MVP told ESPN. "I've really enjoyed my time. For me, it is time for me to go home and be dad."

Rodriguez is 75 homers shy of matching Barry Bonds' career record and likely would be unable to reach it unless he plays into 2018. Also ahead of him are Babe Ruth (714) and Hank Aaron (755).

"He's going to be 42 at the end of his contract. You don't see players playing really past that age. I'm not surprised," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said Wednesday.

But Girardi said this may not be Rodriguez's final decision.

"I think he's allowed to change his mind," the manager said. "With his love of playing the game and competing, if he had two really good years, I wouldn't be surprised if he changed his mind."

By any reasonable measure, Rodriguez is one of the greatest players in history. He goes into 2016 with a .297 average, .382 on-base percentage and .554 slugging percentage in 21 seasons. He is 21st in career hits (3,070), fourth in RBIs (2,055) and eighth in runs (2,002).

His 114.1 career wins above replacement, via FanGraphs, is 13th best all time, between two Yankees legends — Lou Gehrig and Mickey Mantle.

Rodriguez, who joined the Yankees in 2004 after playing for Seattle and Texas, was suspended for the 2014 season by Major League Baseball for violations of the sport's drug agreement and labor contract. He returned last season, shifted from third base to DH and batted .250 with 33 homers and 86 RBIs despite a late slump.

"I don't think it should be too big of a surprise. He's almost 50 years old, right?" Yankees leftfielder Brett Gardner said. "The numbers obviously speak for themselves. He's been a lot of fun to be around the last year, year-and-a-half since he came back."

LAROCHE SAGA: Major League Baseball Players Association executive director Tony Clark said that the union continues to monitor any developments in the case of former White Sox player Adam LaRoche, who retired after a disagreement with the club about the amount of time his son could spend in the clubhouse.

METS: Outfielder Michael Conforto left after the fourth inning with back stiffness.

ORIOLES: Right-hander Kevin Gausman, who was given a cortisone shot Sunday for his sore shoulder, will try to throw on Friday. … Catcher Matt Wieters is moving closer to a return to the field. Wieters left a March 12 game with a sore right elbow.

RANGERS: Right-hander Matt Bush, a former Rays farmhand, pitched two hitless innings and touched 97 mph in his spring debut. Bush, 30, was released from prison Oct. 30 after spending nearly three years behind bars for a DUI hit-and-run. … Left-hander Cole Hamels will start opening day, April 4 at home against the Mariners.

ROCKIES: Right-hander Jon Gray has an abdominal strain, and it's unknown how long he'll be out.

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