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Catcher of A-Rod's 3,000th hit says he's not holding ball for ransom

In a photo provided by Zack Hample, Zack

In a photo provided by Zack Hample, Zack Hample holds the baseball that the New York Yankees' Alex Rodriguez hit on a home run for his 3,000th career hit, in a game against the Detroit Tigers on Friday, June 19, 2015, at Yankee Stadium. Credit: AP / Zack Hample

Zack Hample insists that the ball from Alex Rodriguez's 3,000th hit is not being held hostage for ransom.

"People think I'm trying to increase the offer by holding out," Hample told Newsday Tuesday. "But that's not it. It's a very complex situation and the proper procedures should be put in place."

Hample, 37, who says he has caught 8,000 major- league baseballs, snagged the home run that A-Rod blasted for his 3,000th hit on Friday night. He met with Yankees executives Randy Levine and Lonn Trost on Friday and again on Monday to discuss a way to get the ball back to Rodriguez.

Hample said that Levine and Trost mentioned the possibility of the Yankees making a "sizable donation" to Hample's favorite charity, Pitch In For Baseball, which provides baseball and softball equipment to those in need.

"That," Hample said, "was really the turning point when I went from being adamant about not giving the ball back to just starting to consider a chance that something could be worked out with the Yankees and A-Rod."

Hample says he has another talk with the Yankees planned for next week. If a deal is reached, he said he also may receive memorabilia and Yankee Stadium perks.

"I don't expect the Yankees to give me money," he said. "That's actually not what I'm interested in. If I wanted the most money, I would send the ball to auction."

Since catching the ball, Hample has done countless interviews, including a live appearance on SportsCenter. He was contacted by the show "Pawn Stars" on History Channel. His followers on Twitter increased from just over 3,000 on Friday night to over 9,200 as of Tuesday night.

"People are supporting me, people are attacking me," Hample said. "It's amazing to see the extremes to which people are reacting to this whole thing."

Rodriguez didn't seem overly concerned with recovering the ball when he spoke after Friday's game, saying the memory is more valuable.

"If he expresses that he's dying to get the ball and he would do anything for it," Hample said, "that suddenly increases the value a whole lot and perhaps makes it less likely for him to get it back."

Hample doesn't expect any further updates or negotiations until next week.

"Unless," he said, "I catch Chase Headley's 100th career home run tonight at the Stadium."

New York Sports