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Yankees Hero Jim Leyritz I Woulda Let A-Rod Play ... He's Earned It

8/12/2016 3:42 PM PDT

Yankees Hero Jim Leyritz Woulda Let A-Rod Play

EXCLUSIVE

Jim Leyritz -- the guy who blasted one of the most famous home runs in Yankees World Series History -- says if he was running his ex-team ... he'd let A-Rod play as long as he wanted to.

A-Rod had said publicly that he wanted to play 3rd base during his final game Friday night -- but Yanks skipper Joe Girardi nixed the idea ... only allowing him to be a DH instead. 

Some people are upset saying A-Rod deserved to go out on his own terms -- others say screw him, he's a cheater and doesn't deserve anything. 

So, we put it up to Leyritz -- who played with Joe G. back in the day -- and he says in this situation, he disagrees with his old teammate. 

"The guy's one of the greatest 5 players to ever play ... I would've played him until he wanted to stop."

Leyritz also says he thinks the decision may have been out of Joe's hands -- and even suggests Yanks brass took measures to ensure A-Rod wouldn't reach 700 home runs in pinstripes. 

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