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A-Rod 600 Watch: Day 3

Alex Rodriguez connects for his 600th career home

Alex Rodriguez connects for his 600th career home run against Blue Jays starter Shaun Marcum. (Aug. 4, 2010) Credit: Christopher Pasatieri

Well, it's been two games for Alex Rodriguez sitting on 599 home runs, and already manager Joe Girardi is fielding questions about the mounting pressure on his slugger. And a follow-up question about when the time may come when it would be okay to ask if the pressure is mounting.

Yes, that second sentence was purposefully written to be confusing, because, as Girardi basically said, it's absurd. 

"It's only been two days," Girardi said. "If he hit one every two days, he'd have about 50 right now."

True, but today is his last chance to do it at home until Aug. 2, as the Yanks will embark on a seven-game road trip through Cleveland and Tampa Bay after today's game.

Rodriguez, who comes into the game with 16 homers on the season, hit a double off Royals starter Sean O'Sullivan on Tuesday. He and Nick Swisher (who homered) were the only two Yankees with a hit off O'Sullivan.

We'll be chronicling each of A-Rod's at-bats here all day so be sure to keep this page refreshed.

First at-bat: Is A-Rod getting jumpy? He swung at the first pitch from O'Sullivan, a 91-mile per hour fastball on the inside corner, and grounded it to short for an easy out. He broke his bat in the process. 

O'Sullivan is perfect through two. He has allowed just one baserunner in the last seven innings of work against the Yankees (a walk to Brett Gardner on Tuesday).

Second at-bat: That was the kind of jumpy the Yankees like, though we're still waiting on No. 600. A-Rod ripped a 1-and-0 pitch, a 78-mile per hour changeup that was left up, down the left-field line with Teixeira on first. The ball skipped past Podsednik as he played it off the wall, allowing Tex to score the Yankees' fourth and final run of the bottom of the third.

For Rodriguez, it was his 25th double and 79th RBI, which is second in MLB behind Miguel Cabrera of the Tigers, who has 86.

Third at-bat: We're still waiting on No. 600, but A-Rod's last AB was quite eventful. After taking two fastballs out of the zone, Rodriguez looked fooled on a 2-and-0 changeup that he took for a strike.

On the next pitch, a 91-mile per hour fastball, he fouled the ball off his left toe. He knealt down for a few moments, appearing to be in pain. But after being looked at by Girardi and trainer Gene Monahan, he remained in the game.

He took a healthy cut on the next fastball, but fouled it straight back. He popped the next pitch foul with Derek Jeter, who was on first base, going for second. He took another fastball for a ball to push the count full, but then grounded out to short for the second time today on the next pitch, a 91-mile per hour fastball.

**A-Rod may not get another at-bat in today, as the game is currently being delayed by rain with one out in the top of the sixth and the Yankees up 5-3. It is an official game.

Fourth at-bat: It's been a few hours since A-Rod's last at-bat, but the long wait didn't result in a home run. Alas, the Yankees will have to settle for an RBI single to push their lead to 7-3. On a 0-and-1 fastball, Rodriguez ripped a shot off second baseman Mike Aviles' glove and into short right field to score Nick Swisher. It came off reliever Kanekoa Texeira

Fifth at-bat: Never a dull moment with A-Rod, yet still no home run. With the bases loaded in the eighth, A-Rod had a 2-and-1 count against Blake Wood. The next pitch was a 95-mile per hour fastball that hit A-Rod in the left forearm/wrist to drive in a run and make it 10-5 Yankees.

Rodriguez was down on the ground for the second time today, but walked off on his own power. He wanted to stay in the game, but Girardi replaced him on the basepaths with Juan Miranda.

It was the second pitch Wood threw near A-Rod's head, as the 0-and-1 pitch (a 94-mile per hour fastball) made him duck.

Overall, it was an eventful day for Alex. Though he didn't get his 600 homer, it wasn't a bad day by any stretch, as he went 2-for-4 with three RBIs (his 79th, 80th and 81st of the season) and a HBP.

Homer No. 600 looks like it'll come over the next seven games on the road.

***We did get one milestone today though, as Robinson Cano's eighth-inning RBI ground-rule double was the 1,000th hit of his career. This is Cano's 830th career game.

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