A-Rod has 'positive' talk with Yanks amid reports of possible release

ByWallace Matthews ESPN logo
Saturday, July 23, 2016

NEW YORK -- Amid media reports that the Yankees are considering releasing Alex Rodriguez and eating the approximately $28 million remaining on his contract, sources told ESPN that Rodriguez and team owner Hal Steinbrenner met and spoke Friday before a game against the San Francisco Giants.

According to the source, the meeting took place at Yankee Stadium and was initiated by Steinbrenner. A party privy to the conversation said, "It was a very positive conversation," and that the subject of the Yankees releasing Rodriguez never came up.

Rodriguez, who will turn 41 on Wednesday, has struggled this season, batting .210 with nine home runs and 29 RBIs and a .631 OPS, the second-lowest among Yankees regulars. He has just two hits in 19 at-bats on the Yankees' current homestand, one a 40-foot dribbler to third base last Friday against the Red Sox and the other a 440-foot home run on Monday against the Orioles.

That homer was his first at Yankee Stadium since April 17. He is four shy of 700 home runs for his career.

Rodriguez has been out for early batting practice before every game this week. He told ESPN that he is working on a new approach at the plate that he believes is reducing his strikeouts and his "chase rate," his tendency to swing at pitches out of the strike zone, which plagued him earlier in the season.

"I feel like I'm ready to be really productive again,'' he said.

Rodriguez, who is signed through the 2017 season, is batting cleanup in Friday night's game against Giants ace Madison Bumgarner, whom he has never faced.