A-Rod back in Yanks uniform -- while helping prospects

A-Rod back in Yanks uniform -- while helping prospects

NEW YORK -- Seven weeks to the date of his final game in a Yankees uniform, Alex Rodriguez was back in his pinstripes on Friday, working with instructional league prospects at the team's Minor League complex in Tampa, Fla.

Rodriguez spoke with top prospects Clint Frazier, Blake Rutherford and Jorge Mateo after early hitting drills on Derek Jeter Field, according to The Associated Press, wearing a No. 13 uniform while in the dugout during Friday's game against a Blue Jays farm club.

"It still fits. That's a good thing," Rodriguez told The AP with a smile. "It feels great to be back in pinstripes."

Rodriguez, 41, played his final game at Yankee Stadium on Aug. 12, and the team released him a day later, absorbing the remaining $27 million on his contract through 2017. Rodriguez has agreed to serve as a special Yankees instructor and advisor through next season, reporting directly to managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner.

"We owe the game," Rodriguez said. "In many ways, it's our responsibility and privilege to pay it forward."

Other prospects participating in the Yankees' instructional league include infielders Gleyber Torres and Miguel Andujar.

"The talent jumps off the page," Rodriguez said. "This is as much good young talent that I've seen here in all my years here."

Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that he believes Rodriguez will make a difference with the team's young prospects.

"I think [he can help] in a lot of different areas because of his experiences," Girardi said. "The expectations, playing short, playing third, being a middle-of-the-order hitter, hitting No. 2 earlier in his career; all the different things that he's done.

"He was an outstanding defender, he was an outstanding hitter, he was an outstanding run producer, he was an outstanding baserunner. He knew the game. Those kids should just sit around and pick his brain; that's what they should do as much as they can. I think he can help in a lot of different areas -- and he can help in some do's and don'ts."

A 14-time All-Star who hit 696 career home runs but also served the game's longest performance-enhancing drug suspension, Rodriguez batted .200 with nine home runs and 31 RBIs in 65 games this season.

Rodriguez is remaining close to baseball, signing on to serve as a FOX studio analyst for the playoffs. He told The AP that he is enjoying his life away from the diamond -- especially having the opportunity to spend more time with his daughters.

"I'm making more round trips with all these events. It's great to be more part of it now," Rodriguez said. "They often tell me, 'Dad, we're glad you're home.'"

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch, on Facebook and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.