Mixed signals over Rodriguez future

Three-time AL MVP Alex Rodriguez seems to have backtracked on his decision to retire once his $275 million, 10-year contract with the New York Yankees expires at the end of the 2017 season.

Rodriguez, who turns 41 in July and is fourth on the career home-run list with 687, had initially said in an interview with ESPN that he would retire next year in order to spent more time with family.

“I won’t play after next year,” the three-time AL MVP was quoted as saying by ESPN. “I’ve really enjoyed my time. For me, it is time for me to go home and be Dad.”

Yankees manager Joe Girardi then provided a hint of doubt after being questioned about A-Rod’s future, suggesting that his decision was by no means a definitive one.

“He’s going to be 42 at the end of his contract. You don’t see players playing really past that age. I’m not surprised,” Girardi said.

“I think he’s allowed to change his mind,” the manager said. “With his love of playing the game and competing, if he had two really good years, I wouldn’t be surprised if he changed his mind.”

Then Rodriguez hinted himself that his mind is not completely made up when other media outlets asked about his plans post-2017.

“I’m thinking in terms of my contract which ends in 2017,” he told the New York Post and New York Daily News. “After that, we’ll see what happens. I’ve got two years and more than 300 games to play.”

Rodriguez, who joined the Yankees in 2004 after playing for Seattle and Texas, returned last season, shifting from third base to designated hitter and batted .250 with 33 homers and 86 RBIs despite a late slump.