Alex Rodriguez will retire when contract expires after 2017 season – USA TODAY

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New York Yankees designated hitter Alex Rodriguez has announced his retirement following the 2017 season.

Alex Rodriguez’s record-setting and embattled major league career, launched when he was an 18-year-old shortstop in 1994, will end with his retirement after the 2017 season, the New York Yankees slugger tod ESPN New York on Wednesday.

Rodriguez, 40, will step away from the game after the final season of a 10-year, $275 million contract – although some $25 million in salary was lost when A-Rod sat out the entire 2014 season while serving a suspension for his involvement in the Biogenesis performance-enhancing drug scandal.

It also appears he will step away from the game before threatening the all-time home run record of 762, held by Barry Bonds. After a 2015 season in which he rehabilitated both his public image and his baseball career by hitting 33 home runs, Rodriguez has 687 career home runs.

He’s a good bet to pass Yankees legend Babe Ruth for No. 3 on the list at 714 home runs  – possibly as soon as this year – but doesn’t figure to reach the heights of Bonds or Hank Aaron, who remains No. 2 at 755 home runs.

Rodriguez is a three-time American League MVP (2003, 2005, 2007) and 14-time All-Star who would easily possess the distinction of greatest player of his generation were it not for his connections to performance-enhancing drugs. After Sports Illustrated reported in 2009 that he failed a drug test in 2003, Rodriguez admitted to taking PEDs from 2001-2003, the first three seasons of his landmark 10-year, $252 million contract with the Texas Rangers.

Steroids were not banned by MLB during those years, and it appeared A-Rod restored his good name with a clutch playoff performance during the Yankees’ run to the 2009 World Series, during which he shed his label as postseason choker, hitting six home runs in their run to the championship.

But the 2013 Biogenesis scandal revealed A-Rod’s continued PED use long after Major League Baseball instituted a strident testing policy, with penalties. After stridently fighting a suspension throughout the final months of 2013 and into 2014 – including filing a lawsuit against the MLB players’ association – A-Rod accepted his season-long ban for the 2014 season.

Despite sitting out an entire season – and undergoing 2013 hip surgery – A-Rod returned with a flourish in 2015, hitting 33 home runs, compiling an .842 OPS and galvanizing a Yankees club that rallied for an AL wild card berth. Along the way, he endeared himself again to teammates and Yankees management, which wanted to withhold a bonus for Rodriguez passing Willie Mays with his 661st career home run; the player and club eventually reached a settlement on a charitable donation. Rodriguez also passed the 3,000-hit mark in 2015..

Now, it appears he will play two more seasons – and complete a career in which he will gross around $420 million in earnings – before he moves on, some 23 years after it began.

Entering 2016, Rodriguez ranks fourth all time in home runs (687), 21st in hits (3,070), eighth in runs scored (2,002) and fourth in RBI (2,005). He also ranks 12th all-time with 119 Wins Above Replacement.

PHOTOS: Alex Rodriguez’s road back from suspension

Alex Rodriguez will retire when contract expires after 2017 season – USA TODAY

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