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Can Alex Rodriguez catch Willie Mays this season?

Alex Rodriguez hits a solo home run in

Alex Rodriguez hits a solo home run in the third inning, his second of the game. (May 23, 2012) Credit: David Pokress

A pair of home runs Wednesday and suddenly Alex Rodriguez seems alive again. Eight hundred or so feet of space between where A-Rod swung and where the two shots landed will do that.

But it also got us thinking. Rodriguez entered this season with 629 career home runs, 31 shy of tying Willie Mays for No. 4 on MLB's all-time list. Can A-Rod catch Mays in 2012?

Maybe, maybe not. Let's look at some numbers.

Through the first 183 plate appearances of the season, A-Rod has 7 home runs. That's one home run every 26.1 plate appearances.

So long as Rodriguez stays healthy this season, there's no reason to think he won't get 600 plate appearances (or at least very close to it). That would equal 23 home runs this season, giving Rodriguez 652 for his career, eight shy of Mays' 660.

While A-Rod's average rate of home runs per plate appearances has declined over the years, for his career he averages one blast per 17 plate appearnces. A few hot weeks at the plate and late September will get interesting for baseball's historical buffs.

Want more A-Rod homer info? See our database at newsday.com/arod.

New York Sports