Rodriguez helps Yanks to victory in pinstripe farewell
By Larry Fine
NEW YORK (Reuters) - One last play in the field, that was all Alex Rodriguez wanted and with a 6-3 lead in Friday's ninth inning of his last game in pinstripes, Yankees manager Joe Girardi was able to make it happen.
"We want A-Rod! We want A-Rod!" the sold-out Yankee Stadium crowd of over 46,000 pleaded at the end of the eighth and out from the dugout Rodriguez emerged, trotting toward third base and the ball park shook with their standing ovation.
Rodriguez, 41, had thrilled fans with his talents for 22 seasons, the last dozen in New York including a World Series title, and sickened others with his doping offences, the last one wiping out his entire 2014 campaign.
Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner told A-Rod last week that he would be released after this game against the Tampa Bay Rays, with the club swallowing his $20 million salary for next year as they worked earnestly to shift to younger players.
"I'm going to savor every moment, every at-bat," three-time American League MVP and 14-time All-Star Rodriguez told reporters before the game.
A-Rod certainly enjoyed his first trip to the plate.
Given a standing ovation and the familiar chant of "A-Rod", he lined a run-scoring double up the gap in right-center off starter Chris Archer to score Brett Gardner from first to tie the game at 1-1 in the opening frame.
That was his only hit, but home runs by Starlin Castro and Aaron Hicks padded New York's lead to 6-3 and Girardi was comfortable giving A-Rod a last moment to cherish. Continued...