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/ Source: TODAY
By Scott Stump

In the midst of a comeback season at 40 years old after a year-long suspension, New York Yankees star Alex Rodriguez is making sure to soak it all in.

Rodriguez reached the rare 3,000-hit milestone in June, and on Tuesday, he belted the 25th grand slam of his career to extend his own Major League record with his 25th home run of the season.

"I get old, (but that) feeling doesn't get old,'' Rodriguez told Matt Lauer on TODAY Friday. "It's been a humbling experience, and (I'm) just having a lot of fun."

Matt Lauer and A-Rod
Matt Lauer and A-RodMLB

A-Rod has also been having fun as part of the Yankees' Hope Week, an annual initiative by the team featuring acts of goodwill that aim to provide hope and encouragement to more than just the recipient.

The week started with Rodriguez and teammates Brett Gardner and Dellin Betances surprising Charleston Southern University baseball player Chris Singleton, whose mother, Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, 45, was one of nine parishioners murdered in the shootings on June 17 at Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, South Carolina. Singleton threw out the first pitch at the Yankees' game against the Minnesota Twins on Monday as a special guest of the team.

"The way he showed courage, (he) is just a great role model,'' Rodriguez said. "Not only for kids out there but for even us as adults."

Hope Week has also included a surprise visit by the Yankees to Prospector Theater, a cinema in Connecticut where most of the employees have disabilities, honoring a group of elementary school children at Southern Boulevard School in New Jersey who collect notebooks and pencils for other kids whose families can't afford them, and a visit in New Jersey with the Hunterdon Huskies Cheerleaders, a group of special-needs high school cheerleaders who inspire others.

"You don't have to be a famous baseball player or an athlete or a celebrity to go out and do great things in your community,'' Rodriguez said. "And if we can kind of create that atmosphere, this a win-win for us."

Hope Week
The Hunterdon Huskies Cheerleaders, a team of inspiring cheerleaders made up of high school students with disabilities, was spotlighted by the Yankees during their annual HOPE Week.TODAY
Hope Week
Students from Southern Boulevard School in Chatham, N.J., participated in the school's own HOPE Week initiative, preparing care packages for other students in need.TODAY

As for Rodriguez, he has been a crucial component in the success of the Yankees, who are currently in first place in the American League East. His renaissance has come after missing all of last season due to a suspension by Major League Baseball for his role in the Biogenesis baseball scandal involving performance-enhancing drugs.

Rodriguez, who admitted to using steroids in 2009, says he's not overly concerned with his complicated place in baseball history.

"What I've tried to do coming into this year is enjoy the moment, stay in the moment and really try to pay it forward,'' he said. "My mistakes are obvious and loud. Everyone has seen them. But I think now I have an opportunity to finish a couple of my chapters doing it the right way."

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