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Alex Rodriguez says goodbye to Yankees in 6-3 win over Rays

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But on Friday, as he rode to the Bronx for his final game with the Yankees, Rodriguez thought about all the good, bad and controversial things he had been through since coming to NY in a blockbuster trade in February 2004.

Alex Rodriguez hit an RBI double and played third base in the ninth inning in his final game with the Yankees, as NY took the opener from the Rays, 6-3, from Yankee Stadium on Friday night.

"It is going to be tough to top that".

"It was so awesome", Rodriguez said.

After the 6-3 Yankees win, A-Rod, trailed by cameramen, walked out to third base, collected a pocketful of dirt and put it in his back pocket. Manager Joe Girardi actually had a conversation in the dugout with Rodriguez the inning before, and A-Rod smiled and said he'd need to go get something.

Recently, I did an article on should Alex be in the Hall of Fame and I said he should be in, eventually. Last season was the first time Austin reached Triple-A and he's played the entire season there in 2016. I wanted it to be something. So then I was very stressed and I got really low. He's not going out a champion and he's not going out on a 30-home run season.

He was replaced after a leadoff strikeout, hugging his teammates as fans, many of whom never warmed to a player who served a year-long drug suspension, applauded in respect if not devotion.

"I've given these fans a lot of headaches over the years".

Yet, Rodriguez said he didn't feel the Yankees were giving him the brush off.

The Yankees ended up winning the game, 6-3, but it all started with Rodriguez's RBI.

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He was given the option - and said yes - to becoming special adviser which starts next spring training.

On Sunday, Girardi said Rodriguez could play as much as he wanted in three games in Boston before Friday's finale in The Bronx.

"Retirement is synonymous with old", he said.

Before the game, with the field covered by a tarpaulin for a threatened thunderstorm, the Yankees staged a modest tribute to Rodriguez with a video salute to him on the huge centerfield screen with family and friends joining him near home plate.

Skies darkened just as his pregame ceremony began. The storm forced the participants, who included Reggie Jackson, Mariano Rivera and Hal Steinbrenner, to scramble for cover from the lightning and torrential rains barely five minutes after it had begun.

Rodriguez chuckled while standing with his daughters as the cloudburst boomed overhead. "And my parents have always taught me judge somebody based on how they treat you personally". "I was happy for him". Unless another team signs him after he is released by the Yankees, it will also be remembered as A-Rod's last Major League Baseball game. Against Strasburg, he's 14-for-34 (.412) with four homers and 13 RBIs.

The 41-year-old hit 696 home runs - fourth on the all-time list - but was given a 162-game doping ban in 2014. Instead of waiting, the Yankees forced his hand as part of their ongoing a roster overhaul.

Rodriguez will stay with the team as an advisor for the final year of his contract and has not said he is officially retiring from baseball.

His release will end a legendary but controversial career with the Yankees which saw him repeatedly embroiled in controversy since arriving in NY in 2004 from the Texas Rangers. Two days after optioning Luis Severino to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, the New York Yankees recalled the righthander, 22, from the Triple-A farm team Friday. "How you come back matters, too, and that's what New York's all about".

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