Alex Rodruguez’s days with the New York Yankees were numbered.
Now they’re up.
Rodriguez will play in his final game with the Yankees tonight (7:05 p.m.; Fox/WSVN-7) as the Tampa Bay Rays come to the Bronx.
Rodriguez, who grew up in Miami, is expected to be in the lineup but will not be starting at third base as he had hoped as manager Joe Girardi nixed A-Rod’s request to return to his spot on the hot corner one final time.
“I thought it would be a cool way to go out,” Rodriguez said. “Joe just said no.”
The Yankees will release Rodriguez after Friday’s game but that doesn’t mean the two are parting ways. No, not only do the Yankees owe Rodriguez almost $30 million through the end of next season, but the plan is for him to join the team next spring as a special advisor to owner Hal Steinbrenner as well as serve as a guest instructor at spring training in Tampa.
Of course, as a free agent come this weekend, Rodriguez could sign with any other team.
According to various reports, the Marlins had internal discussions about bringing A-Rod back to the diamond in his hometown although if that were to happen, it probably wouldn’t happen until rosters expand on Sept. 1.
On Thursday, Rodriguez played in his final Yankees-Red Sox game.
After being lustily booed by the Fenway faithful, Rodriguez drove in a run with a weak grounder which helped New York win 4-2.
Rodriguez went 0-for-4 in what could be his final game at Fenway but the run he drove in was big.
“Kind of a funny hit at the end,” he told reporters following the game. “It’s not how I pictured it when I woke up this morning, but definitely I'm glad that run came in and we won the game."
So, what’s next for A-Rod?
Assuming no team signs him for the stretch run, it appears he’ll return to Fox Sports as a postseason analyst. Rich Hofman, Rodriguez’s high school coach at Westminster Christian, says he think Rodriguez would be a good full-time analyst.
“He’s one of the smartest baseball players ever,” Hofman said. “I think he could do anything in baseball he wanted, from instruction to coaching although I don’t think he would be able to do that fulltime.
“I do see a multi-faceted career in baseball ahead for him with TV being a big part of it. He’ll stay in the game, he’s one of the best teachers in the game and has a personality that can be electric. He’s charming, bilingual; he has everything going for him.”
As for Rodriguez joining the Hall of Fame someday, well, don’t expect any help from the baseball writers at the New York Daily News.
Of the four Daily News writers with a Hall of Fame vote, only one – Miami Herald alum Anthony McCarron – said Rodriguez would get their vote.
“But, as with all things A-Rod, there is no easy answer to this,” McCarron wrote. “It’s a complex question that ultimately will play out over the waiting period after his career is officially over. A lot can change in five years.”