A-Rod was lucky he hit No. 600 where he hit it. A 23-year-old security guard, Frankie Babilonia, retrieved it from the netting over Monument Park. He returned the ball, and Rodriguez presented him with an autographed bat at the postgame press conference.
What would you have done if you had been him? Kept that ball potentially worth six figures or turned it over? It probably wouldn’t have boded well for his job if he had kept it. But Babilonia knew what he had to do right from the flight of the ball.
“I was like, ‘Wow, there goes the ball. I’ve got to get it and return it to him,’ ” Babilonia said. “That’s what I did.”
Rodriguez was happy and relieved to get it over with. He admitted he had been pressing. He had ironically hit No. 500 at the old Stadium three years ago today.
“So much has changed for me,” Rodriguez said. “My place in that clubhouse, I think that’s the No. 1 thing that has changed, my relationship with my teammates, the way I try to go about my business, especially the last two years. We’re about winning. We’re about checking your ego at the door.”
So can he catch Barry Bonds at 762? Rodriguez is the youngest to reach 600 at 35 years and 8 days old, but his homer pace has slowed this year with just 17 so far.
“I think that if he stays healthy, he can get to 700,” Toronto manager Cito Gaston said. “I think that he’s 35 years old now. I don’t know if he’ll pass Hank (Aaron) or Bonds.”
“It took me three years to the day to hit 100, so that’s really not even on my radar right now,” Rodriguez said. “That’s something we can revisit in two or three years and see where we’re at. But the journey’s what’s fun.” …
Turns out, Phil Hughes was pitching with a cold. Between that and the heat, he was just trying to battle through. He said he got away with some mistakes while allowing just one run, four hits and two walks in 5 1/3 in the 5-1 win. His record is now 13-4. …
Joba Chamberlain threw a scoreless seventh, his fourth straight scoreless outing. He said he has made a mechanical adjustment. Joe Girardi likes the look of his fastball and slider now.
That’s it for tonight. After an off-day Thursday, the Yankees begin a four-game series here on Friday against the Red Sox. It’s Javier Vazquez vs. Clay Buchholz.