A tearful Rodriguez announced the news in a press conference Sunday morning at Yankee stadium.
“This is a tough day,” the 41-year-old said. “I love this game, and I love this team. And today, I’m saying goodbye to both.
He also talked about his 18-year-old self, and the pride he has for his accomplishments in his more than two decade-long career.
“This is also a proud day,” he said. “I was 18 when I broke into the big leagues. I never thought I could play for 22 years. At 18, I just wanted to make the team.”
And the baseball star, who has a historic 10-year, $275 million contract with the Yankees until the end of next season, talked about how difficult it is to say goodbye to the sport.
“Saying goodbye may be the hardest part of the job, but that’s what I’m doing today,” he said in the conference.
Rodriguez said Yankees chairman Hal Steinbrenner initiated several conversations earlier this week to discuss his release, but said the conversations were not necessarily “strong or aggressive,” according to the Post.
He got even more emotional when thanking his mother Lourdes Rodriguez and daughters Natasha and Ella Rodriguez for their support and love.
But Rodriguez is not exactly saying goodbye to the Yankees altogether. He will remain on the team as a mentor starting in the spring.
“I want to thank the Steinbrenner family for giving me this opportunity and making me part of this team,” he said. “And giving me an opportunity to stay involved and mentor the next generation of Yankees.”
Before he returns to Miami with his family, Rodriguez said he wanted to play one last game. The Yankees face off against the Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium Friday night at 7:05 p.m.