Former New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez is back on the field at the Yankees‘ minor league facility in Tampa, FL. Today, he began his new role as an instructor with the team, working with prospects taking part in this year’s instructional league.
Rodriguez spoke with youngsters Jorge Mateo, Clint Frazier, and Blake Rutherford after early hitting drills this afternoon on Field 2, otherwise known as Derek Jeter Field, as well as other players and coaches during batting practice this afternoon. The aforementioned players are part of a deep pool of prospects in the Yankees organization.
“The talent jumps off the page,” said Rodriguez. “This is as much good young talent that I’ve seen here in all my years here.”
While in the dugout for Friday’s game against Toronto, Rodriguez wore his No. 13 uniform which he wore with the Yankees in the Bronx.
“It still fits. That’s a good thing,” Rodriguez said. “It feels great to be back in pinstripes.”
Rodriguez also spoke very highly of catcher Gary Sanchez, whom the Yankees called up in August. Sanchez is just one of what could me a number of core players in development that will make an impact in the Bronx. Entering play today, Sanchez boasts a slashline of .303/.378/.672 with 20 home-runs and 42 RBI in just 51 games (195 at-bats).
“When he hit that bomb off Tazawa in Boston when I was there, I started to think it’s about time for me to take care of my girls because I could no longer do that,” Rodriguez said. “When you’re in the dugout and you can feel somebody’s heart beat at game time, you can tell there’s unique calmness about him. It’s very unusual for a rookie. Pretty awesome to see what he’s doing.”
The 41-year-old played his final game with the Yankees on August 12. His release came a day after his final game as part of an agreement reached with team management. He signed a contract to be a special instructor to minor league players within the Yankees farm system through 2017 as they are responsible for the final year of his 10-year, $275 million contract through next season.
“It’s our debt,” Rodriguez said. “We owe the game. In many ways it’s our responsibility and privilege to pay it forward.”
Despite being back to work, Rodriguez is enjoying the beginning of his retirement and spending time with his family.
“I love taking my girls to school,” he said. “I’m making more round trips with all these events. I never knew how much driving Cynthia had to do. It’s good to be more of a part of it right now. They often tell me, ‘Dad, we’re glad you are home.'”
Rodriguez also announced he will return to the anchor desk for FOX during the Major League Baseball playoffs next month.