A-Rod’s latest milestone is a blast
Yankees star reaches career milestone with a hit off Detroit’s Justin Verlander in the first inning.
The Yankees slugger’s 3,000th career hit is a home run off Detroit’s Justin Verlander.
NEW YORK — Alex Rodriguez homered for his 3,000th career hit and smiled all the way around the bases Friday night, the highlight so far in what’s become a resurgent season for the formerly disgraced slugger.
The New York Yankees star wasted no time, connecting in the first inning on a first-pitch, 95-mph fastball from Detroit ace Justin Verlander.
Out of baseball last year while serving a drug suspension, Rodriguez became the 29th player in major league history to reach 3,000 hits. He was the first to do it since Yankees great Derek Jeter homered from the very same batter’s box in 2011.
“It’s a magical number,” Rodriguez said after the final out of New York’s 7-2 victory. “I’m very happy to be in the club.”
With the crowd at Yankee Stadium standing in anticipation, Rodriguez sent a high drive to right field. He held onto the bat as he took a few steps toward first base, and outfielder J.D. Martinez bumped into the wall as he backed up.
Fans roared as the ball sailed a half-dozen rows into the seats.
Retrieving the souvenir ball might be harder for Rodriguez than hitting it. In the late innings, Yankees spokesman Jason Zillo said a “professional home run catcher” wound up with the prize and “he is not intending to give it to us.”
Rodriguez pointed to the crowd a couple of times and blew a kiss to someone behind the backstop after crossing the plate. He was greeted by Mark Teixeira and other teammates between the plate and the dugout, and got a big hug from Manager Joe Girardi.
The only other players to hit a homer for No. 3,000 were Jeter and Wade Boggs.
Rodriguez turns 40 next month. The three-time AL most valuable player launched his 13th homer of the season and has enjoyed a productive year as a designated hitter after returning from his suspension.
“I’m enjoying this season as much as any,” he said.
Rodriguez hit his 667th career home run after beginning the day with a .299 lifetime average in 21 seasons. He joined Hank Aaron and Willie Mays as the only players with 600 homers and 3,000 hits.
Earlier this year, Rodriguez passed Mays for fourth place on the all-time homer list and eclipsed Barry Bonds for second on the official RBI chart.
Unlike with home run No. 660 that tied Mays, there was no marketing agreement between Rodriguez and the Yankees regarding this milestone — and thus, no potential squabble over $6 million. The team even tweeted updates throughout his pursuit, using the hashtag #AROD3K.
ALEX RODRIGUEZ is all smiles after big hit.
THE YANKEES’ Alex Rodriguez hits a home run for his 3,000th career hit during the first inning against Detroit.