A day after Alex Rodriguez played his final game for the New York Yankees, the team called up top prospect Aaron Judge, who made his major-league debut in Saturday's 8-4 win against the Tampa Bay Rays.
The Yankees officially released Rodriguez on Saturday afternoon, ending his 12 years in pinstripes and perhaps his big league career after 22 seasons.
"It's strange," manager Joe Girardi said of Rodriguez no longer being on the team. "I have a lineup card, and his name is not on there. And there's not another Rodriguez in our organization who is up in the big leagues who makes me think he's on there. I think about all the great players that have walked, not just through these doors but the doors that were across the street who eventually retired."
Judge, who Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said will be the team's every-day right fielder going forward, hit eighth.
Prospect Tyler Austin was also called up from Triple-A and made his MLB debut at first base.
Austin and Judge launched their Yankees careers with back-to-back home runs in their first major league at-bats Saturday, hitting solo shots off Matt Andriese in the second inning, becoming the first pair of teammates in baseball history to hit consecutive home runs in their first career plate appearances.
Judge, 24, was hitting .270 with 19 home runs and 65 RBIs in 93 games for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. The 6-foot-7 slugger was ranked 23rd overall in Keith Law's midseason MLB prospect rankings.
Austin was hitting .323 with 13 homers and 49 RBIs in 56 games for the RailRiders.
Releasing Rodriguez leaves the Yankees responsible for the $27,103,825 remaining on his $275 million, 10-year contract. He is owed $7,103,825 of his $20 million salary for the final 65 days of this season and $20 million next year.
The 41-year-old designated hitter went 1-for-4 with an RBI double in his finale Friday night, a 6-3 win over Tampa Bay.
"Last night was a special night," Cashman said. "[I] had a chance to talk to him before the game and had a chance to talk after the game. I think it was great for Alex, great for our fans and great for our win column. It was also nice that he helped impact us as well.
"The roster has been changing a lot, so today is a new day. It's been a new day quite often lately, to be honest. We've had a lot of changes, some quality people we've said goodbye to and a lot of quality people we've been saying hello to. It's the nature of the beast."
Rodriguez hit .200 with nine homers and 31 RBIs for the Yankees this season. He has 696 home runs, fourth on the career list behind Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755) and Babe Ruth (714).
Rodriguez's career batting average is at .295. A 14-time All-Star and three-time AL MVP, Rodriguez has 3,115 hits, and his 2,086 RBIs are second to Aaron's 2,297 since RBIs became an official statistic. Rodriguez was suspended for the 2014 season for violations of baseball's drug agreement and labor contract.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.