Alex Rodriguez hit his 599th career home run last night, and given that he’s facing Royals pitchers this weekend, I wouldn’t bet against him knocking number 600 before Monday rolls around.
There’s some growing excitement about this in the last 24 hours or so, but it has certainly been muted. I’ve heard more beefing from Yankees’ fans about Joba Chamberlain than I have about A-Rod’s impending milestone. The tabloids are way more pumped about claiming Jerry Manuel’s scalp than they are in celebrating the feat.
Which is not surprising, because it’s A-Rod, and no one really much cares for him. I get that. And between his general lack of popularity and the PED associations, I understand why people may be giving Rodriguez’s impending milestone less hype than we might have expected.
But I think something else is going on here, and it’s way more benign: 600 homers simply isn’t anything we haven’t seen before. Three guys — Ken Griffey, Jr., Sammy Sosa and Barry Bonds — did it in the past few years. That certainly makes the event less special. And you can’t just say it’s because two of them are known PED users. Griffey has never had such associations, and the hype surrounding his reaching 600 was not particularly monumental either. Six guys doing something in the history of the game is still among the rarest accomplishments you’ll see, but given that we’ve all seen it happen recently it seems less special.
So it could simply be a matter of no one caring that A-Rod is going to hit his 600th home run. I think, though, that no one would care all that much no matter who it was.
Jaime Garcia has been at the center of trade talks for several days now, but on Friday night, he commanded center stage for an entirely different reason. The Braves’ southpaw went head-to-head with Dodgers’ lefty Alex Wood and mashed his first career grand slam: a two-out, 399-foot blast that cleared the wall in right field and put the Braves up 9-0 in the fifth inning.
The bases-loaded knock was the third career home run for Garcia, whose contributions at the plate have been few and far between over his nine-year track in the major leagues. Not only did the homer mark an impressive career first for the 30-year-old, but it was just the second pitcher grand slam in Braves’ history and the first since 1966.
Garcia looked almost as impressive on the mound during Friday’s series opener, issuing one run, four hits and three strikeouts through his first six innings. The Braves currently lead the Dodgers 12-1 in the top of the seventh inning.
As for whether the slam will affect negotiations between the Braves and Twins? MLB.com’s Mike Petriello put it best:
Athletics’ first baseman Ryon Healy had a scary moment during Friday’s loss to the Mets. Lucas Duda smacked a single to the first base side, where the ball took a high hop and caught Healy in the left temple. He crumpled to the ground after getting struck by the one-hopper, but was eventually able to stand and walk off the field with assistance from a trainer.
Prior to the injury, Healy went 2-for-3 at the plate with an RBI single in the first inning. He was replaced by Yonder Alonso, who finished off the rest of the night’s 7-5 loss with a walk in two plate appearances.
Following the game, manager Bob Melvin told reporters that Healy did not appear to have sustained a concussion as a result of the hit. Healy said he thinks he’ll be good to go for Saturday’s game, though a final decision likely won’t be made until tomorrow.