The New York Yankees have confirmed that Alex Rodriguez will play his last game for the club on Friday before being unconditionally released and joining the team's front office.
Age and injuries have left the 41-year-old A-Rod a shell of his former self this season, slashing at .250/.356/.486 with nine home runs and 29 RBIs in 216 at-bats.
"This is a tough day. I love this game, and I love this team," a tearful Rodriguez told reporters.
"And today, I'm saying goodbye to both. This is also a proud day. 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.
"No athlete ever ends his career the way they want to," Rodriguez continued. "We all want to play forever ... saying goodbye is the hardest part of the job, but that's what I'm doing today.
"The last four weeks have not been any fun. It's been painful and embarrassing and awkward," Rodriguez said.
Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner had reached out to Rodriguez on Wednesday about possibly retiring. Rodriguez denied the conversation was an ultimatum.
"The conversation never went that far," he said.
Rodriguez, who is still owed $20million next year in the final year of his contract, will serve as special advisor and instructor. The Yankees announced in a media release the deal would last through to December 31, 2017.
It's the second such media conference for the Yankees in three days, after 36-year-old first baseman Mark Teixeira announced he would retire after the season on Friday.
'A-Rod' statistically ranks among the greatest talents to ever play the sport. His 696 home runs rank fourth on the all-time list. He has 3,114 career hits and 2,084 RBIs.
However, he admitted in 2009 that he used performance-enhancing drugs earlier in his career with the Rangers. He was suspended for the entire 2014 season for his use of PEDs and hindering MLB's investigation into that use.
When asked if he felt he could still play, Rodriguez said, "You always think you have one more hit in you ... but I'm at peace with the organisation's decision."
"Obviously, he's had a very exciting career, with ups and downs," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said.
The Yankees host the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday in what will be his last game.