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h0236 BC-BBA-Rodriguez-Willia 3rdLd-Writethru 07-22 0520

A-Rod signs with William Morris agency

Eds: UPDATES with details on Rodriguez, quote; ADDS byline. Moving on entertainment, financial and sports services. AP Video.

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By MIKE FITZPATRICK

AP Baseball Writer

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NEW YORK (AP) — Alex Rodriguez signed another big-league contract, joining the William Morris Agency in an attempt to extend his brand beyond the baseball diamond.

The New York Yankees slugger signed with the powerhouse talent agency in Beverly Hills, Calif., and becomes part of a client list that includes some of the biggest names in sports, entertainment and business.

"Partnering with William Morris will enable me to broaden the scope of my career in creative and innovative ways," Rodriguez said in a statement. "I’m excited to see what we will be able to accomplish together, both domestically and abroad."

At Yankee Stadium, hours before New York played the Minnesota Twins on Tuesday night, Rodriguez did not want to discuss his arrangement with William Morris.

"Just baseball questions," he said while dressing at his locker before batting practice. "I just want to win baseball games."

Dave Wirtschafter, president of William Morris Agency, called Rodriguez "one of the world’s most iconic athletes whose personality transcends sports."

"In the baseball world, Alex is synonymous with success," he said in a statement Tuesday. "Our job will be to extend that success beyond the field to other opportunities."

The deal, which was first reported by The Wall Street Journal, was completed this month and set up by Rodriguez’s manager, Guy Oseary, a music business mogul who has worked closely with William Morris.

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Among the star athletes handled by William Morris are Dwyane Wade, Serena Williams and Kevin Garnett. The agency represents such movie stars as Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe.

Rodriguez’s decision to join William Morris comes at a time when he is now a staple of celebrity gossip. His wife has filed for divorce and his relationship with Madonna has generated blaring tabloid headlines and daily fodder for talk-show radio. Media reports linked Rodriguez and the pop star, but each denied a romantic relationship.

The 32-year-old third baseman is a three-time MVP who has hit 539 home runs and is on pace to pass Barry Bonds on the career list.

Rodriguez is drawing a major league-high $27 million salary this year and last December signed a record $275 million, 10-year contract with New York. The deal that allows him to make up to $305 million if he reaches certain milestones.

"Surrounding Alex with the right team is imperative to reaching our goals," Oseary said. "We are delighted to have William Morris as a part of our team."

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