The athlete described it as a “tough day” at a press conference on Sunday, when he revealed that he will retire as a player on Friday — the day of his final game, against the Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium.
A-Rod will transition into a new role as a “special adviser and instructor” and will be released from his contract. The 41-year-old’s new position will last through Dec. 31, 2017.
“This is a tough day. I love this game and I love this team, and today I say goodbye to both,” Rodriguez said. “This is also a proud day. I was 18 when I broke into the big leagues. I never thought I could play for 22 years. At 18, I just wanted to make the team.”
“No athlete ever ends his or her career the way you want to. We all want to play forever. But it doesn’t work that way,” he added. “Accepting the end gracefully is part of being a professional athlete. Saying goodbye may be the hardest part of the job, but that’s what I’m doing today.”
In 2007, A-Rod signed a 10-year, $275 million contract with the Yankees. The team will have to pay out the remainder of his salary through the end of next year, which is believed to be around $27 million.
Rodriguez exited the conference wearing his Yankees uniform and Nike sneakers. The third baseman has endorsed the sportswear brand since joining the league in 1994.
The Bronx Bomber wore Nike cleats recently when he participated in a batting practice at a game against the Houston Astros on the team’s home turf on July 25.
He entered Major League Baseball in 1993, when he was drafted by the Seattle Mariners.