KANSAS CITY — How’s this for a twist? For record-keeping purposes, Alex Rodriguez may have already hit his 500th home run. The statistical confusion stems from the June 28 suspended game at Baltimore, which the Yankees are primed to complete Friday prior to their regularly scheduled game against the Orioles.
For all intents and purposes, Rodriguez is stuck in a time warp in his chase for 500 home runs. Thus, he could conceivably hit career homer No. 493 at Baltimore on Friday, making his homer Wednesday off Kansas City’s Gil Meche No. 500, as statistics in the suspended game will be attributed to having occurred June 28.
“It is a little unusual, when you consider the stats count in that game, even though the result has not been decided yet,” said Yankees manager Joe Torre. “Go figure that one out.”
The Yankees were leading Baltimore 8-6 when umpires halted play in the top of the eighth inning, leaving Rodriguez on deck. Rodriguez is 0-for-3 with an RBI in the frozen contest.
Rodriguez, who is virtually assured of becoming the youngest player to ever hit 500 home runs whenever he does accomplish the feat, hit what he believed to be his 499th in the eighth inning Wednesday off Meche, a line-drive two-run shot to right-center.
But if Rodriguez homers in Friday’s suspended game, statistical records would indicate that the home run off Meche was in fact his 500th career home run.
All of Rodriguez’s round-number milestones have come on the road: he hit No. 100 on Aug. 12, 1998, at Toronto; No. 200 on May 21, 2001, at Chicago; No. 300 on April 2, 2003, at Anaheim; and No. 400 on June 8, 2005, at Milwaukee.
Rodriguez entered Thursday the Major Leagues with 35 home runs and 102 RBIs, and is the first player in history to hit 35 or more home runs and drive in 100 or more runs in 10 consecutive seasons. He’s batting .311 for the Yankees, who trail the Red Sox by 6 1/2 games for the American League East lead.