(Reuters) - Alex Rodriguez plans on retiring at the end of the 2017 Major League Baseball season after playing out his contract with the New York Yankees, ESPN reported on Wednesday.
“I won’t play after next year,” Rodriguez, a 20-year MLB veteran who turns 41 in July, told ESPN. “I’ve really enjoyed my time. For me, it is time for me to go home and be dad.”
It will end what has been a prodigious and controversy-filled career for Rodriguez, whose 10-year, $275 million contract expires in 2017.
Rodriguez, who missed the entire 2014 season due to a doping suspension, enters the 2016 season with 687 career home runs and trails only Babe Ruth (714) Hank Aaron (755) and Barry Bonds (762) on MLB’s all-time list.
The powerful right-handed hitter showed last season that he still had the ability to clear the fences as the three-times American League Most Valuable Player blasted 33 home runs for the Yankees.
Rodriguez, once jeered by fans after past admissions of doping, enjoyed a remarkable renaissance last season following his 2014 exile from the sport.
The slugger popularly known as A-Rod returned to the diamond last season and won the affection of the Yankee Stadium crowd by helping the club reach the postseason for the first time since 2012.
During the course of the 2015 campaign, Rodriguez became the 29th player to amass 3,000 hits and his home run barrage pushed him up the all-time list.
In 2013, the 14-time All-Star hit just seven home runs and drove in 19 in 44 games after a late start following hip surgery.
Rodriguez, who had admitted before the 2009 season that he used steroids while with the Texas Rangers after receiving a record 10-year, $250 million deal, was called A-Roid and A-Fraud in the tabloids and from the stands.
Rodriguez, who came up with the Seattle Mariners as an All-Star shortstop before moving to third base and now designated hitter, was once thought to be the clean player who would overtake suspected steroids user Bonds as MLB’s home run king.
Yet despite his own doping admissions, Rodriguez has been embraced as a model of redemption by Yankees fans and cheered on in his efforts to get the club back into another World Series.
Reporting by Larry Fine in New York; Editing by Frank Pingue