New York Yankees designated hitter Alex Rodriguez announced he will play his final game in pinstripes on Friday. Rodriguez, 41, has spent 12 of his 22 seasons with the Yankees, and will become a special adviser after he is unconditionally released after Friday's game.
Rodriguez has hit 696 home runs, the fourth-most in MLB history, 3,114 hits and 2,084 RBIs in 2,781 career games. A three-time MVP, Rodriguez has earned nearly $400 million in his career, according to Baseball-Reference.
Several teammates expressed their gratitude toward Rodriguez.
"Al's probably the best player of my generation. ... I wish him the best. He was a great teammate. He's been nothing but helpful to me since I've been here. And his baseball mind is unbelievable." (Via the New York Daily News' Peter Botte)
"I think there's only one other guy I've ever met that likes to talk about baseball more than Alex, and that's Cal Ripken. These are two guys kind of from the same mold of shortstops that were un-prototypical shortstops. These guys are big, tall guys that were graceful at short." (Via Newsday's Neil Best)
"Alex is one of those guys that's always working so he sets a great example for young players. He's always willing to help. He loves to talk about the game. He's just a student of the game and, because of that, guys want to be around him." (Via ESPN's Josh Rosenblat)
"I saw some of the balls he hit over at Citi Field [during batting practice] within the last week or so, 480, 490 feet to left-center, and I know he can still hit. I feel bad about the way the season's going. Not just for him and for myself but for the team, and it's sad to see it all coming to an end. If we had played better collectively, as a team, things wouldn't be unfolding this way. It's something that's kind of hard to swallow." (Via ESPN's Wallace Matthews)
"Sad the way its all gone done. Sad to see him go and not get the chance to play with him anymore. ... I think the ultimate way to go out is to go out on your own terms. [Teixeira] is getting a chance to do that. It's sad to see that Alex isn't." (Via NJ.com's Joe Giglio)
"As a kid growing up you see him on TV and then a couple of years later, here I am, playing with him outside. So it's just awesome. He took me out here last year and I took ground balls. He talked to me about the guys, about the league, getting to know the runners, trying to stay in control and doing what you can do. You always try to give it your best and it's one thing that just stuck in my head since that day." (Via Rosenblat)
"[Alex] has been one of the better teammates I've ever had -- I've learned a lot from him." (Via Rosenblat)
"He has been an inspiration to us. A player like Alex Rodriguez is not born every day. He has been very helpful to us young players." (Via Rosenblat)