NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The Yankees have made it clear that they have no intention of paying Alex Rodriguez a $6 million bonus for hitting a milestone 660th home run.
On Friday, Rodriguez matched Willie Mays for fourth on the career homer list by hitting No. 660. Rodriguez connected off Junichi Tazawa of the Boston Red Sox in the eighth inning at Fenway Park Friday night to reach the milestone with his sixth home run in a successful return from a yearlong drug suspension.
It would have led to a financial windfall for the team, had A-Rod not been suspended previously.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said Saturday that the choice not to pay Rodriguez the bonus has to do with the wording of the contract.
Rodriguez has 14 days to file a grievance against the Yankees if he wants another fight. He was not discussing the issue on Friday.
“I’m so in the moment right now – really grateful and appreciative to be playing baseball – and those things will take care of themselves,” he said after the Friday game.
omer 660 was hit nearly five years after Rodriguez became the youngest player to reach 600 – on Aug. 4, 2010.
Because of injuries and serving the longest performance-enhancing drug ban in major league history, A-Rod went 1,731 days between historic homers, 306 more than Mays, The Say Hey Kid. Home run king Barry Bonds didn’t even need two years (612 days) to reach his Godfather’s mark after hitting his 600th, according to STATS.
Nearing 40 with two years after this season left on his contract with New York, Rodriguez trails only Babe Ruth (714), Hank Aaron (755) and Bonds (762) in baseball’s elite club.
Once seen as the player who would restore credibility to baseball’s cherished home run title in the Steroids Era, Rodriguez’s storied career from No. 1 draft pick to three-time MVP was first tarnished in 2009 when he admitted using steroids from 2001-03 with Texas.
It doesn’t help that during his failed fight to overturn a suspension for his involvement in Biogenesis, Rodriguez angered the Yankees by suing, among others, the team physician for the treatment of a hip injury that resulted in surgery. The lawsuit was eventually dropped.
Before the game, Joe Girardi said he wanted Rodriguez to hit No. 660 as soon as possible but also wanted to rest him with a day game coming up Saturday.
“But my job is not to be caught up in milestones,” he said, “but to be caught up with what is the best lineup you field that day.
“But I do want to get it out of the way because I think … as much as a player you try not to think about it, it’s impossible. And the sooner we get it out of the way the better.”
Rodriguez hit homer No. 100 in August 1998 with Seattle, No. 200 in May 2001 and No. 300 in April 2003 with Texas. His 400th in June 2005 and 500th on Aug. 4, 2007. No. 600 came three years later, to the day.
After homering twice at Tampa Bay on April 17, Rodriguez was batting .344 with four homers. Since then was 5 for 37 with one homer and two RBIs in 10 games going into Friday’s game.
He hit No. 659 on Sunday but had one of his worst games Wednesday when he matched his major league career-high with four strikeouts, went 0 for 6 to set a personal mark for most hitless at-bats and grounded into a game-ending double play in the Yankees’ 3-2, 13-inning loss to the Tampa Bay Rays.
“A year ago I never would have dreamed about having this incredible moment,” A-Rod said.
(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)