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Alex Rodriguez ties Ken Griffey Jr. for fifth place on all-time homer list with 630


Alex Rodriguez hit his first homer of the season off Angels right-hander Ervin Santana, moving into a tie with former teammate Ken Griffey Jr. for fifth place on the all-time list with 630 career homers.

The homer also snapped a career-long RBI drought for Rodriguez, who failed to drive in a run in any of the Yankees’ first six games. And now, just like that, he has an .827 OPS that’s right in line with his 2010 and 2011 production.

The Yankees went on to win their home opener 5-0.

Next up for Rodriguez on the all-time homer list? Well, it’ll be a while before he moves up another spot:

Barry Bonds        762
Hank Aaron         755
Babe Ruth          714
Willie Mays        660
Ken Griffey Jr.    630
Sammy Sosa         609
Jim Thome          604

During the past three seasons Rodriguez has averaged 32 homers per 150 games, so he’ll need to stay healthy and avoid any further decline to potentially move past Willie Mays by the end of the year.

MLB games were six minutes shorter this year

Pitch Clock
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According to STATS, INC., the average game in 2015 was 2 hours, 56 minutes. That’s six minutes faster than games in 2014.

The gains came in the first half, when games averaged 2:53. Second half games averaged three hours even. One can probably thank the expanded rosters in September for that, as games then see many more pitching changes. Of course, it’s likely that second half games were faster in 2015 than 2014 as well given the rules changes.

Those changes: agreement to enforce the rule requiring a hitter to keep at least one foot in the batter’s box and the installation of clocks timing pitching changes and between-inning breaks in ever ballpark.

It remains to be seen if MLB stays satisfied with that modest improvement or if chooses to go the way Triple-A and Double-A leagues did. They installed 20-second pitch clocks and started penalizing violators with balls and strikes. Triple-A’s two leagues, the International and Pacific Leagues, saw game-time decreases by 13 and 16 minutes, respectively.

Billy Beane promoted to VP, David Forst named A’s general manager

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I’m so old I remember when general managers used to run baseball operations departments. Now they’re basically assistants.

The latest example: the Oakland Athletics have promoted Billy Beane to vice president of baseball operations and have named David Forst general manager. Forst has been with the A’s for 16 years and has been Beane’s assistant for 12 years, so it’s not exactly a situation in which Forst will be making the final calls. The official move came today, though the move has been in the works for some time, it seems.

Someone with a lot of good front office access is going to write a good story this winter about the title inflation going on in Major League Baseball over the past year. And it’s gonna be great when one of his or her sources breaks the pattern of saying “well, baseball transactions are so much more complex these days . . . ” and admits “hey, if Theo gets a fancy title and La Russa gets a fancy title I WANT A FANCY TITLE TOO.”

Not that it’s much of a secret as it is.