Yankees to celebrate A-Rod's 3,000th hit
Club will hold pregame ceremony at Yankee Stadium on Sept. 13
TORONTO -- The Yankees have planned a special pregame ceremony to celebrate Alex Rodriguez's 3,000th career hit on Sunday, Sept. 13, against the Blue Jays, and the slugger said that he was "in disbelief" when informed of the upcoming honor.
Rodriguez became the 29th player to reach the 3,000-hit plateau on June 19, hitting a first-inning solo home run off the Tigers' Justin Verlander. Rodriguez and Derek Jeter are the only players to join the 3,000-hit club in a Yankees uniform.
"I think it's amazing," Rodriguez said. "Extremely classy by the Steinbrenners, the Yankees organization. I never thought about a year ago that I would be getting any ceremonies, that's for sure. There was a thought that maybe I wasn't going to play baseball ever again. To be celebrated at home, I'm just honored and flattered."
The Yankees said that gates will open two hours prior to first pitch at 11:00 a.m. ET, and fans are encouraged to arrive early and be in their seats by 12:30 p.m. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 p.m.
The belated celebration for Rodriguez's 3,000th hit is the latest sign of a thaw between the player and the organization, following last season's suspension for performance-enhancing drug use and the litigious atmosphere that subsequently defined their relationship.
"I think it's a good thing," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "All relationships are going to have rocky moments, and you like to see things get righted and repaired. I think both sides have made a lot of gestures to do that, so I think it's a good thing."
The Yankees were initially hesitant to designate Rodriguez's 661st home run as a "milestone" as he moved into fourth place on the all-time home run list, surpassing Willie Mays with a shot that could have triggered a marketing bonus in his contract.
He and the Yankees later resolved their contract dispute by agreeing upon $3.5 million in charitable contributions to be made by the club, with $1 million going to the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, the Boys & Girls Club of Tampa and Pitch In For Baseball, and $2.5 million going to the MLB Urban Youth Foundation.
"I think it certainly shows how far he's come, how far we've come," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said. "Mistakes can happen and you can move past it over time. What he did, what he has accomplished on the field, it's pretty special. You can't argue with the amount of hits that he's put together over the course of his career. It's an amazing accomplishment."