NEW YORK » Alex Rodriguez homered for his 3,000th career hit and smiled all the way around the bases Friday night, the highlight so far in what’s become a resurgent season for the formerly disgraced slugger.
The New York Yankees star wasted no time, connecting in the first inning on a first-pitch, 95 mph fastball from Detroit ace Justin Verlander.
Rodriguez became the 29th player in major league history to reach 3,000 hits, and the first since Yankees great Derek Jeter homered from the very same batter’s box in 2011.
With the crowd at Yankee Stadium standing in anticipation, Rodriguez sent a high drive to right field. He held onto the bat as he took a few steps toward first base, and right fielder J.D. Martinez bumped into the wall as he backed up.
The crowd roared as the ball sailed into the seats. Rodriguez was greeted by Mark Teixeira and other teammates between the plate and the dugout, and got a big hug from manager Joe Girardi.
Rodriguez turns 40 next month. The three-time AL MVP launched his 13th homer and has enjoyed a productive year as a designated hitter after sitting out all of last season while serving a drug suspension.