Alex Rodriguez and Ken Griffey Jr. are back together again. In the record books at least.
Rodriguez slammed a 92-mph first-pitch fastball from the Angels' Ervin Santana over the centerfield wall of Yankee Stadium in the third inning for his 630th career home run on Friday, tying him with Griffey, his former Seattle teammate, for fifth place on baseball’s all-time list.
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Rodriguez, batting in the third spot in the lineup on Friday, went 3-for-4 as the Yankees beat the Angels, 5-0.
It was Rodriguez’s first home run in 2012 and the 69th of his career against the Angels which ranks No. 1 on his opponent list. It was his 43rd blast at the new Yankee Stadium since it opened in 2009, No. 4 on A-Rod's stadium list.
Rodriguez is only the third player in Major League Baseball history to hit 100 or more home runs for three different teams. The other two are Reggie Jackson (Athletics, Yankees, Angels) and Darrell Evans (Braves, Giants, Tigers). Rodriguez hit 189 home runs as a Seattle Mariner, 156 as a Texas Ranger and 285 as a Yankee.
After hitting his 600th career home run in 2010, a plateau only seven other players have reached, Rodriguez slumped to just 16 homers amid injuries last season. It was his lowest total since 1995. Home run No. 629 came on Sept. 17, 2011, and he didn't hit another in the Yankees' final 12 games.
Rodriguez and Griffey were teammates on the Mariners teams of the mid-to-late 1990s, normally batting second and third in the order, respectively. But trades and free agency separated the two sluggers as they continued to climb the career home run list.
Griffey's final home run came on Oct. 3, 2009, against Texas' Tommy Hunter. Rodriguez's count sat at 581 that day, but the Yankee slugger hit two home runs the following afternoon against the Rays to begin his march toward Griffey.
Learn more about every home run Rodriguez has hit in Newsday’s database at newsday.com/arod.