Rodriguez homers to reach 3,000-hit milestone
By Larry Fine
NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez homered on the first pitch he saw on Friday to become the 29th Major League Baseball player with 3,000 hits.
The Yankee Stadium crowd rose up to applaud Rodriguez as he came to the plate in the first inning.
The designated hitter, who was suspended for all of last season for violating MLB's doping policy, immediately responded by launching the first offering from the Detroit Tigers' Justin Verlander into the right-center field seats.
The 39-year-old Rodriguez was treated to a roaring ovation from the Bronx audience and was mobbed by his manager and team mates in front of the dugout after he trotted around the bases.
The homer was his 13th this season and 667th of his career. The 39-year-old Rodriguez ranks fourth on the all-time home run list behind Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755) and Babe Ruth (714).
It was the latest in a series of milestones reached by Rodriguez, who has moved up the all-time offensive lists in quiet fashion.
This season Rodriguez had already eclipsed Willie Mays (660)in home runs, and Bonds and Yankees great Lou Gehrig, the "Iron Horse", in career runs batted as he became the fourth player ever to reach 2,000 RBIs.
There have been no milestone packets prepared for Rodriguez's achievements, such as prepared for the now retired Derek Jeter when he became the first Yankee to reach 3,000 hits, or special merchandising efforts to cash in on them. Continued...