A-Rod not interested in free agency or leaving N.Y.

Updated: November 18, 2006, 5:51 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

NEW YORK -- He's said it before and he said it again: Alex Rodriguez wants to remain with the New York Yankees, no matter how much he gets booed at Yankee Stadium.

Third Base
New York Yankees

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2006 SEASON STATISTICS
GM HR RBI R OBP AVG
154 35 121 113 .392 .290

He made that clear on Wednesday night before hosting a celebrity poker tournament held at Jay-Z's 40/40 club in Manhattan benefitting the A-Rod Family Foundation.

"My choice is to play for the New York Yankees. It's my choice. I love being a Yankee. I believe we're going to win with me being a Yankee," Rodriguez told reporters when asked if he was interested in voiding the final three years of his $252 million deal to test the free agent market.

"Options are there for protection and choice. The contract is in place," he said. "My choice is to be with the New York Yankees. I hold that card."

Rodriguez' future has been the subject of speculation after a trying year in which he was booed at home and batted a dismal 1-for-14 in the Yankees' division series loss to the Detroit Tigers. Pundits have suggested he'd be happier elsewhere -- and noted that by voiding the last years of his contract, he could command even more money as a free agent.

"Options are there for protection and choice. The contract is in place. My choice is to be with the New York Yankees. I hold that card."
--Alex Rodriguez

The unsolicited career advice hasn't changed A-Rod's mind.

"No question last year was a very challenging year for me personally," he said. "I think New York wants to see people go through a tough time and come out of it. The one thing is, I never gave into how difficult the moment got at times."

Rodriguez also said he held no animosity toward manager Joe Torre, who dropped him to eighth in the batting order in Game 5 of the ALDS against the Tigers.

"Batting eighth, that's a manager's decision," he said. "It was one game. As long as I am in the lineup, I am happy to play."