Sportress of Blogitude

A-Rod jokes he needed Google Maps to round bases on first homer since 2013

After hitting his first home run of the season in a New York Yankees’ 6-3 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays, Alex Rodriguez used a slightly self-deprecating joke to make light of just how long it has been since he has hit a round-tripper.

“I felt like I needed Google Maps to round the bases,” Rodriguez said, via the New York Post. “It’s been a long, long time. Anytime you get the first one off the column, a win, a hit, RBI, all those things are important.”

In light of serving a suspension for his role in the Biogenesis scandal that kept him off the field for the entirety of the 2013 season, it’s been awhile since Rodriguez even had the chance to hit a homer in a real game. A-Rod’s last regular season round-tripper came on Sept. 20, 2013.

But that all changed in the sixth inning, when he deposited an offering from Blue Jays left-hander Daniel Norris in the left-center field seats.

“It felt good,” Rodriguez said about his home run. “Anything good I do this year is gonna be kind of a surprise to everyone, sometimes even myself.”

After hitting seventh in the batting order in the Yankees’ first two games, manager Joe Girardi bumped Rodriguez all the way up to second. When he was told of the promotion to a spot in the order where more production is expected, Rodriguez asked, “Are you kidding me?” Once he examined the batting order himself, all A-Rod couldn’t believe it.

“Wow,” he said.

Given the doom and gloom that was expected to come with Rodriguez’s return to the Yankees after his season-long sojourn to baseball purgatory, just how well he has reintegrated himself back into the lineup — and more importantly, the clubhouse — is nothing short of impressive. Girardi referred to A-Rod as the Yankees’ biggest surprise of spring training. It’s difficult to argue with that assessment.

As noted by Deadspin’s Barry Petchesky, not all is rosy with A-Rod’s return to round-trippers, though. According to the terms of his contract, every home run Rodriguez hits gets him closer to a huge payday. Only five homers now separate him from Willie Mays and fourth all-time on the career home runs list. Once he gets there, the Yankees will owe Rodriguez a $6 million bonus, something the team previously has scoffed at honoring.

Again, nothing ever is as simple as it seems when it comes to A-Rod.

(photo credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports)