Despite making an appearance at spring training as a special adviser, former New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez said there is "zero" chance he will return to the field as a player.
“I haven’t had those thoughts,” Rodriguez told reporters Tuesday. “I know that was kind of the general sense that I would probably come back and play, but being a Yankee means everything to me. I’m grateful to Hank and Hal Steinbrenner for the opportunity they gave me to rehab my life, to get my life back in order from the mistakes I made. So walking out with my mother and two daughters (in my final game at Yankee Stadium) is something I’ll never forget, and I think Hal and the New York fans for giving me that.”
Rodriguez, 41, retired last August after being released by the Yankees to make room on the roster for young talent. He finished with 696 career home runs and 2,086 runs batted in, both numbers that rank among the best in MLB history but are shrouded in accusations of performance-enhancing drug use.
After being released by the Yankees, Rodriguez said he had a "few offers" to return. The Miami Marlins, Rodriguez's hometown team, were widely reported to have interest.
"I thought about it for a minute," Rodriguez told reporters. "I flew the whole family home after that Friday night. I thought about it a little bit that weekend. I was fortunate to have a few offers. I called them back and said, 'No thank you.'"
Rodriguez will make $21 million this season, the final year of a $275 million deal he signed in December 2007. The Yankees brought Rodriguez in as a special instructor for spring training as part of the agreement they made when releasing him last August. He is slated for six total days at the Yankees spring training facility.
“I’m grateful for the opportunity to do what I’m doing now,” Rodriguez said. “I’m kind of in a unique position here from all the things I’ve done in this game, both good and bad. I learned my biggest lessons from some my mistakes, and they were big ones. There’s so much that’s expected here in New York and it’s so difficult to play in New York. I think that—as staff and mentors—is the best thing we can do to get them ready for what’s expected of them there. Because it is a handful.”
Rodriguez could see his role expand within the organization. Hal Steinbrenner told reporters during his state of the Yankees address that he was "absolutely" interested in finding additional ways for Rodriguez to be involved. Steinbrenner went out of his way to compliment the former MVP's work with the Yankees' young roster.
"I could spend all the time in the world on the field," Rodriguez told reporters. "But these guys are great talents. They are the best players in high school and college. I think my value is taking them out to dinner and having a three-hour dinner. Recognizing that the first hour-and-a-half, they will probably pretty nervous and pretty tight. By the second half of that dinner, they will start asking real questions."