Alex Rodriguez will play his last game as a New York Yankee, and likely as a major-leaguer, on Friday night at Yankee Stadium. With the team set to release the veteran, A-Rod will get one final start when New York hosts the Tampa Bay Rays.
It’ll be Rodriguez’s second start in as many days, a rarity for the fading star. He hasn’t been in the Yankees’ starting lineup in consecutive days since July 21 and July 22, going 0-7 in the process.
Joe Girardi has been the subject of a lot of criticism for keeping A-Rod on the bench, though the 14-time All-Star hasn’t given the Yankees' manager much reason to play him. After going 0-4 on Thursday against the Boston Red Sox, Rodriguez is now hitless in his last 11 at-bats. In 64 games and 221 at-bats, Rodriguez has put together a putrid .199/.247/.348 slash line with just nine home runs.
But Rodriguez was one of MLB’s best players for a large portion of his 13 seasons in New York, and he even hit 33 home runs a year ago. More than half of his 696 career home runs have come in pinstripes, and he won two MVP awards (2005, 2007) and a World Series (2009) with the Yankees.
“No athlete ever ends his or her career the way you want to,” Rodriguez said on Sunday when he announced that Friday would be his last game. “We all want to play forever. But it doesn’t work that way. 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.”
Rodriguez can only hope to go out in a similar fashion that Derek Jeter did two years ago. In his final game at Yankee Stadium, the shortstop won the contest with a walk-off single.
Friday’s game was initially supposed to start at 7:05 p.m. ET, but first pitch was moved because the Yankees will honor Rodriguez with a ceremony before the game. New York is asking that fans be in their seats by 6:50 p.m. ET.
Because it’s Rodriguez’s last game, it’ll be broadcast nationally. Television coverage begins at 7 p.m. ET.
Start Time: 7:35 p.m. ET
TV Channel: FOX
Online Stream: FOX Sports Go