A-Rod contributes double, takes final bows in emotional Yankees farewell

Mark Townsend
·Yahoo Sports Contributor

The final chapter of Alex Rodriguez’s New York Yankees career was officially written Friday night in front of a sold-out crowd at Yankee Stadium.

Rodriguez, who will now be released from his player’s contract, went out on a high note given his unusual circumstances, contributing an RBI double in four at-bats. Manager Joe Girardi then allowed Rodriguez to man third base for one batter during the ninth of New York’s 6-3 win against the Rays, before removing him to take his final bows.

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It was a highly emotional scene that had built up the entire game and was paid off perfectly with A-Rod’s final appearance coming in the field.

Rodriguez had been greeted by standing ovations before each plate appearance. His first time up, he responded with one of his best at-bats of the season against a tough pitcher in Rays’ right-hander Chris Archer. His run-scoring double there was his first extra-base hit since homering against Baltimore’s Kevin Gausman on July 18. The two-bagger also moved him into 30th place on MLB’s all-time list at 548, breaking a tie with the similarly polarizing and controversial Manny Ramirez.

And yes, he was especially amped for that first plate appearance, as this fact indicates.

The rest of A-Rod’s offensive game was rather anti-climatic. He grounded out to shortstop on a 2-2 pitch leading off the fourth inning. In his third at-bat against Archer, A-Rod finally looked overmatched, going down swinging on three pitches. That was one of eight strikeouts for Archer on the evening. In what proved to be his final at-bat, Rodriguez grounded softly into Tampa Bay’s defensive shift on the very first pitch.

Alex Rodriguez smokes an RBI double to tie the game 1-1 in the first inning. (AP)
Alex Rodriguez smokes an RBI double to tie the game 1-1 in the first inning. (AP)

For those who predicted fireworks at the plate after his pre-game ceremony was interrupted by thunder and lightning, it fell short of expectations. On a personal level though, he can at least hang his hat on contributing to a Yankees victory and also the warm reception he received from the fans.

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!