TORONTO - Alex Rodriguez said the news left him in "disbelief."
The Yankees will hold a "special" ceremony Sept. 13 to "celebrate" Rodriguez's 3,000th career hit. They informed him a few weeks ago and made it official with an announcement Friday.
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"I think it's amazing," said A-Rod, who became the 29th member of the 3,000-hit club when he homered off Detroit's Justin Verlander on June 19. "Extremely classy by the Steinbrenners. I never thought a year ago I would be getting any ceremonies, that's for sure. There was the thought I'd never play baseball again, so to be celebrated at home, just honored and flattered."
The Yankees and their 40-year-old slugger have come a long way from the behind-the-scenes battle that occurred before and, to a degree, after Rodriguez tied Willie Mays by hitting his 660th career home run. The club took the position that Rodriguez's milestone was not marketable because of his past PED use and refused to make a $6-million payment, as had been negotiated in a 2007 agreement. The sides eventually settled on a charitable donation.
"It certainly shows how far we've come," said general manager Brian Cashman, in Toronto for this weekend's series. "How far he's come, how far we've come. Mistakes can happen and you can move past it over time. But again, what he has accomplished on the field is pretty special. You can't argue with the amount of hits he's put together over his career. It's an amazing accomplishment.''
Rodriguez picked up hit No. 3,042 with a first-inning double Friday night.
Cashman downplayed a report linking the Yankees to the Rockies' Jose Reyes, who, like just about every player with a big contract, cleared waivers Friday.
"There's reports linking us all the time to a lot of things," said Cashman, adding that his club doesn't need a shortstop or second baseman.
"There's a reason [Stephen] Drew has been getting the bulk of the playing time this year," he said. "He's the best option we've had, and looking outside the organization, there hasn't been anything we could secure that would change that."