Alex Rodriguez falls after getting hit by a pitch against...

Alex Rodriguez falls after getting hit by a pitch against the Kansas City Royals during the eight inning at Yankee Stadium. (July 25, 2010) Credit: Getty Images

Alex Rodriguez had hoped to end his final at-bat Sunday with a joyous trip around the bases. Instead, he ended it planted facedown in the dirt near home plate.

A-Rod was hit in the left wrist by a 95-mph fastball from righthander Blake Wood in the eighth inning and left the Yankees' 12-6 win over the Royals at Yankee Stadium.

After the game, he sported a purple welt on his wrist. But he was OK and said there is "no question" he will play Monday night in Cleveland as he continues his pursuit of career home run No. 600.

A-Rod did not go deep for the third straight game. He was 2-for-4 with three RBIs - the last one painful, as his hit-by-pitch came with the bases loaded.

Rodriguez went down immediately. After he got up, he made a move to take his base, but Joe Girardi took him out of the game for a pinch runner. Girardi said he would have left A-Rod in if the Yankees hadn't been ahead 10-5 at the time.

Rodriguez was holding his wrist as he walked off, but he didn't even have X-rays. "I asked him could he squeeze," Girardi said. "He grabbed my shoulder. He could squeeze."

Said Rodriguez: "I just saw the trainer and doctor. I have full strength. So I should be OK."

Those in the crowd of 47,890 who started the day hoping to see Rodriguez make history didn't get to see that. They did get to see what a rain delay of 2 hours, 32 minutes feels like, if they stuck around. Many did not. Appropriately enough, it was umbrella day. The little buggers got a lot of use.

Rodriguez's final at-bat came almost 5½ hours after the game began. The stands were about hall-filled, and those who stayed were on their feet, hoping their perseverance had paid off.

Wood, a rookie righthander making his 29th career appearance, threw a called strike and then a ball under A-Rod's chin. The 1-and-1 pitch was a 96-mph fastball that Rodriguez took a home-run swing on and missed.

"There's no question about it," he said when asked if he was swinging for the fences. "These fans waited two hours. I was trying to imitate Reggie Jackson. I was going to go down on one knee. That was the most dangerous moment of the day, I think."

The next pitch was the one that hit A-Rod. At first, Girardi was concerned it might have done serious damage. "Scary moment," he said. "He's such a big part of our club. When a ball's up there, you wonder first, did it hit him in the face? Then you wonder, did it hit his hand flush?"

It didn't, but A-Rod's day was over. The fans got to see him contribute a run-scoring double and RBI single and got to see Curtis Granderson hit two solo home runs and got to see Robinson Cano pick up his 1,000th hit as the Yankees took three of four from the Royals.

For home run No. 600, fans will have to turn on their TV sets this week - assuming A-Rod's wrist doesn't stiffen up overnight - unless they plan to follow the team to Cleveland and then Tampa Bay.

Eventually, Rodriguez will hit No. 600, but unless he goes homerless in the next seven games, it won't happen at Yankee Stadium.

"I'm just disappointed that we couldn't share the moment together," he said. "More importantly, hopefully some of those fans will come back in October and we give them some real moments."

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