BALTIMORE - Joe Girardi said it is each individual's choice how they wish to recognize Alex Rodriguez if he hits five more homers to tie Willie Mays for fourth all-time with 660.
The Yankees have made it clear where they stand: They won't be acknowledging it as a milestone and plan to challenge the $6-million bonus A-Rod is due if he reaches that plateau, or any plateaus that may follow.
Barry Bonds made news Monday, telling USA Today that baseball should "celebrate" the achievement. A-Rod, who made his 2015 debut at third Monday night, said after the 6-5 win over the Orioles, "Anyone that supports me at this point is well appreciated. It's not taken for granted, that's for sure. But my focus continues to stay between the lines.''
Girardi passed when asked about Bonds' comments. "Some people are going to want to celebrate it, some people are not," he said. "I think it's a personal preference . . . People are upset with the use of PEDs in our game. I don't know what the right thing to do is. Let people do what they want to do."
He added, "My job is to get the most out of Alex. That's what I will continue to do. So far, he's played extremely well, and we need that to continue."
A-Rod, who entered Monday night with a .300/.417/.550 slash line, was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts.
A-Rod was at third because Chase Headley played in each of the first six games, including the entire 19-inning loss to Boston that ended at 2:12 Saturday morning. "He hasn't had a day [off] and he can use it," Girardi said of Headley, who had three hits and three RBIs Sunday night. "I know his legs are heavy.''
Girardi said Jose Pirela (concussion) has been cleared to resume baseball activities and that the utilityman, out since March 22, could play in extended spring training games by next week . . . Ivan Nova will throw live BP on Tuesday, the first time he has faced hitters since Tommy John surgery last April 27.