BOSTON -- Hitting the home run that would give him 660 might have been weighing on Alex Rodriguez's mind before he actually did it Friday night, but before accomplishing the feat, he said that what happens next -- meaning a potential legal fight with the Yankees over bonus money -- isn't bothering him.
He was asked if there is an "anxiety" about the issue. "None, none," he said before batting for Garrett Jones and lining a bullet over the Green Monster on a 3-and-0 pitch from Junichi Tazawa in the eighth inning to give the Yankees a 3-2 lead. "My teammates, fans, other players on other teams, the support has been overwhelming. A year ago today, I never dreamed that I would be hitting home runs. And the fact that I'm doing OK so far, our team is playing well, our team is getting along really well, I think those things are important."
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A-Rod, who was coming off an 0-for-6, four-strikeout performance Wednesday, said he isn't consumed by thoughts about the possible showdown over the $6-million bonus for tying Mays. The Yankees told him in February that they plan to withhold it, and other bonuses tied to home run plateaus, because they no longer are marketable milestones, a result of his PED use.
"I've learned my lesson. I'm doing things a different way now," Rodriguez said. "I know those things will work themselves out. I'm just trying to focus on putting the ball in play."
A-Rod, who at one point was suing MLB, the MLBPA and the Yankees' team doctor, smiled when asked if he will let the lawyers handle things. "I don't even like that word anymore," he said. "I'm focused on baseball."
The baseball hadnot gone well of late. After hitting two homers against the Rays April 17, bringing him to 658, he entered Friday night with a .135/.319/.270 slash line, one homer and two RBIs.
Joe Girardi didn't discount the possibility that A-Rod is putting pressure on himself to tie Mays. "I do want him to get it out of the way because as much as a player you try not to think about [milestones], it's impossible," Girardi said. "The sooner we get it out of the way, the better."
A-Rod said "of course you think about it," but he didn't outright say it is impacting him at the plate.
"It would have been nice to do it at home in front of our home fans, but now I'm on the road and the goal doesn't change," he said. "It's still to win games and win series."
He added: "I said in spring training we're going to have some good days and some bad days. And Wednesday was certainly a bad day."
With David Lennon