Alex Rodriguez is a polarizing figure – perhaps the most polarizing figure in all of sports – but you’ve got to hand it to him. He’s been pretty much amazing through the first 10 games of the season.
Rodriguez hit two home runs and had four RBIs in New York’s 5-4 road win over Tampa Bay on Friday, single-handedly leading the Yankees back from a 4-2 deficit. His two-run homer in the sixth inning tied the game at 4, and his eighth-inning single brought Brett Gardner home for the game-winning run.
Rodriguez is hitting .344 with four homers, 11 RBIs and a .432 OBP this season.
“Yeah, I think that was the biggest question mark. What would Alex Rodriguez’s numbers be?” MLB Network analyst Kevin Millar said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “He was going into camp, he takes the year off, he’s going to be 40 in July – so there’s a lot of question marks that way, but you know what? He’s still Alex Rodriguez. This guy has been good since he’s 18. He went to high school prom and that same year he’s facing Clemens in Fenway. The guy is a stud.”
A stud who’s been through a lot.
“(He) humbled himself, it cost him $28 million (and) he served the longest suspension the game’s ever seen for steroids,” Millar said. “But at some point, we got to forgive. When that is, I don’t know. But his back’s against the wall, (he) hits over .300 in camp, (he) hits three home runs and now he’s holding his own. He’s Alex Rodriguez. He’s in great shape. He looks great.”
Rodriguez hit a solo home run in the second inning against Tampa Bay’s Nathan Karns, a towering 471-foot shot to center field. His two-run shot off reliever Ernesto Frieri gave Rodriguez his 658th career home run. He trails Willie Mays (660) by just two home runs for fourth on the all-time list.
“I saw (Rodriguez) last week,” Millar said. “I said, ‘Listen, Alex, the one thing about this whole thing, just be yourself, man. Be yourself from this point forward because you’re not going to get everybody to like you. But the least you can do starting from this step forward, just try to have fun. If it’s one year left, two years left or three years left, who cares? Go play baseball like the 18-year-old you’ve been.”
Friday marked the 61st multi-homer game of Rodriguez’s career – and his first since May 2012. Rodriguez, who moved past Derek Jeter for ninth place on the all-time runs list (1,925), has six career multi-homer games against the Rays.
He went 3-for-4 on Friday, while the rest of his teammates went 2-for-26.
The Yankees (4-6) play the Rays (6-5) on Saturday at 7:10 p.m. ET.