A-Rod quickest to 300 HRs, but Rangers tumble


ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- Alex Rodriguez was ready to pay big to
get back the ball he hit for his historic 300th home run. He didn't
have to.

Rodriguez hit it into the right-field bleachers Wednesday at
Edison Field -- and a fan threw it back on the field.

"I had signed a jersey, a bat, a helmet and a baseball. We were
going to start with the baseball, so it was going to be a long
negotiation,'' Rodriguez said. "We had a nice care package set for
him. So I'm very thankful that man threw the ball back.''

Rodriguez became the youngest player to hit 300 homers, but the
Rangers lost 11-5 to the Anaheim Angels, who got home runs from
Troy Glaus, Brad Fullmer and Darin Erstad.

Rodriguez, 27 years, 249 days old, hit a three-run homer in the
fifth inning off Ramon Ortiz (1-0), his second of the season. The
fastest to 300 had been Hall of Famer Jimmie Foxx at 27 years, 328
days. Foxx finished his career with 534 homers.

Rodriguez led the majors last season with 57 home runs and 142
RBIs, both career highs for the six-time All-Star. He doesn't rule
out hitting 60 -- especially if he recovers from the disc injury
that sidelined him during spring training.

"The first thing I have to do is get back to 100 percent,'' he
said. "It's going to be a grind the next two or three weeks, but
once I do that, anything is possible because I've worked extremely

Bengie Molina had four RBIs and Ortiz improved to 10-1 against
Texas despite allowing four runs, seven hits and two homers over
five innings. Ortiz allowed a major league-high 40 homers last
season, seven to the Rangers, who led the majors with 230.

"I don't know that he's going to change his approach that much.
He's still going to be aggressive in the zone with his pitches,''
manager Mike Scioscia said. "I think the byproduct of challenging
hitters are going to be home runs. He proved last year that it's
not necessarily a curse.''

Angels rookie Francisco Rodriguez made his 2003 debut. The
21-year-old right-hander struck out Hank Blalock, Rodriguez and
Juan Gonzalez on 17 pitches during a 1-2-3 seventh, then gave up a
leadoff homer in the eighth to Rafael Palmeiro -- the first
regular-season homer in the majors off K-Rod.

Rodriguez, who doesn't have any major league wins during the
regular season, went 5-1 in the postseason last fall, a key to the
Angels' first World Series title.

"When he came in like that and the fans started cheering and
everybody was on their feet, that was definitely a flashback to
last year,'' Angels shortstop David Eckstein said.

John Thomson (0-1) allowed six runs and 10 hits in 4 1/3 innings
in his AL debut. He went 9-14 with a 4.71 ERA in 30 starts last
season with Colorado and the New York Mets.

Texas leadoff hitter Doug Glanville went 3-for-5 and hit his
first AL homer. Anaheim, which won 10-0 Tuesday night, scored
double-digit runs in consecutive games for the first time since
July 7-8, 2001, at Colorado.

Fullmer's second homer in two days, a two-run drive, put the
Angels ahead 3-1 in the fourth. Molina added an RBI double and
showed a rare burst of speed by beating the throw home from
Glanville on Eckstein's sacrifice fly to short center.

The World Series champions added three more runs in the fifth on
an RBI single by Scott Spiezio and a two-run double by Molina.
Erstad added a solo shot in the sixth off Reynaldo Garcia.

Glaus, bothered by tendinitis in his right wrist during the last
week of spring training, hit his first homer of the season in the
second inning.

Despite the three home runs, Scioscia said the Angels will be
better served in the long run to keep manufacturing runs the way
they did last year.

"We don't have the power of Texas or New York -- teams that are
going to sit back and wait for the big inning,'' Scioscia said.
"We are a team that needs to more situational hitting, and running
the bases aggressively.''

Game notes
Anaheim 2B Adam Kennedy left in the sixth with a bruised
right hamstring after colliding with right fielder Tim Salmon on
Ruben Sierra's shallow fly. Sierra ended up at second on Salmon's
error. ... Anderson received his Silver Slugger award before the
game, Erstad (CF) and Molina (C) were presented with Gold Gloves,
and Salmon received his comeback player of the year award. ...
Texas 3B Herbert Perry will start a rehab assignment Thursday in
Double-A. He was hampered throughout spring training because of a
bruised left knee and a sore right shoulder, and was put on the DL
March 24. ... The Angels claimed RHP Elli Serrano off waivers from
the Philadelphia Phillies and designated LHP Mark Lucasiewicz for