Nearing 3,000 hits, Rodriguez comes to his hometown of Miami
MIAMI (AP) — Alex Rodriguez is bringing his pursuit of the 3,000-hit milestone to his hometown, where it may be put on hold.
The New York Yankees begin a two-game series Monday in Miami, and the attendance-challenged Marlins expect more than 30,000 fans for both games, even though it’s uncertain how much they’ll see Rodriguez. He has played only six games in the field this season, and there will be no designated hitter for the two interleague games in Miami.
Rodriguez went 0 for 4 Sunday in Baltimore, leaving him with 2,995 hits. Before the game, Yankees manager Joe Girardi said his inclination was not to start Rodriguez in Miami.
“My plan is right now, no,” Girardi said. “But everything is always subject to change.”
Rodriguez grew up in Miami and hasn’t played here since 2009, long before the drug scandal involving a clinic in nearby Coral Gables that led to Rodriguez’s suspension for all of last season.
The three-time AL MVP said his high school and little league coaches will be at Marlins Park, along with his daughters and other family. He bought tickets for the state championship baseball team from his high school, and for the Boys and Girls Club.
“Obviously it will be a special homecoming for me,” he said. “I’m looking forward to it.”
The Yankees always draw a mixed reaction on the road, and that’s especially true for Rodriguez since he returned this year from the longest performance-enhancing drug ban in major league history.
He said the reception he received over the weekend in Baltimore was the warmest he has had on the road in a long time.
“I’ve been very encouraged by the way I’ve been received,” he said. “I hope it continues to be the same way.”
Among his fans on hand in Miami will be right-hander David Phelps, scheduled to start Tuesday for the Marlins. He was Rodriguez’s teammate in 2013 with the Yankees and said they have a great relationship.
“He always has been fantastic to me,” Phelps said. “The guy made mistakes. We all do. Trust me I’m not perfect, none of us are, it’s just his are a lot more publicized.”
In the wake of the drug scandal, there has been relatively little fanfare this season regarding Rodriguez’s milestones, most recently Saturday in Baltimore when he joined Hank Aaron as the only players in major league history with 2,000 career RBIs.
He’s seeking to become the 29th player to reach 3,000 hits.
AP Sports Writer David Ginsburg in Baltimore contributed to this report.