A-Rod says he could change mind and play beyond 2017

Alex Rodriguez. (Chris O'Meara/AP)

TAMPA, Fla. — Alex Rodriguez says he could change his mind and play beyond 2017, but the New York Yankees slugger repeated his current intent is to quit after two more seasons.

Rodriguez, who turns 41 in July, is fourth on the career home-run list with 687. He revealed his intentions Wednesday during an interview with ESPN.

"I stand by my comment," Rodriguez said Thursday before the Yankees played Tampa Bay. "In baseball 30 days is an eternity. I can’t tell you what can happen in two years. I’m going to fulfil my contract, and I have a right to make a decision then, too. With two years out it’s a little different."

Rodriguez is 75 homers shy of matching Barry Bonds’ career record and likely would be unable to reach it unless he plays into 2018. Also ahead of him are Babe Ruth (714) and Hank Aaron (755).

"I'm having a lot of fun for the first time in a long time," Rodriguez said. "I have the wind at my back, and it's a lot more fun than having it right in my face."

Rodriguez, who joined the Yankees in 2004 after playing for Seattle and Texas, was suspended for the 2014 season by Major League Baseball for violations of the sport's drug agreement and labour contract. He returned last season, shifted from third base to designated hitter and batted .250 with 33 homers and 86 RBIs despite a late slump.

"There's a lot of baseball to be played, 300 games," Rodriguez said. "I've had two hips surgery. At my age, I'm day to day."

Yankees manager Joe Girardi said he and A-Rod talked on Thursday.

"I joked a little with him," Girardi said. "(He said) why is it news when a guy who's 42 might retire?"