Yanks make progress on A-Rod's 3,000th hit
Club meets with fan who has milestone ball
NEW YORK -- The Yankees met again Monday with the self-described "ballhawk" who got Alex Rodriguez's 3,000th hit last week, and the team announced that they have made "significant progress" in reaching an agreement to retrieve the memento.
Rodriguez's first-inning homer off the Tigers' Justin Verlander was picked up in the right-field seats Friday by Zack Hample, a 37-year-old from New York City who has published a book on the art of snagging baseballs at games.
The Yankees said that team president Randy Levine and chief operating officer Lonn Trost spoke again to Hample about the ball, which has been authenticated by Major League Baseball. Yankees spokesman Jason Zillo said that Hample and the executives have agreed to meet again next week.
Rodriguez has been collecting many of his home run balls this season. He tried, unsuccessfully, to obtain his 660th homer from a fan at Fenway Park in May, then swapped autographs and memorabilia for the homers that followed. Rodriguez said Friday that he would be fine if Hample decides not to offer the ball back to the Yankees.
"Maybe years ago that would have been kind of an important thing for me," Rodriguez said. "I think about 2015 and I think about 2009, and for me there's a lot of resemblance there. "The memory, in my 21-year career, by far, nothing that I've done personally would ever compare to winning the championship in 2009. I don't have a ball, I don't have a bat, but I do have a memory, and the memory lives forever. Kind of the same way I feel about the ball."
The situation is the reverse of Derek Jeter's 3,000th hit, which was caught in the left-field seats by Christian Lopez on July 9, 2011. Lopez returned the ball to the Yankees, saying that he wanted Jeter to have it; the team rewarded him with memorabilia and tickets, plus an opportunity to meet Jeter.