Commentary

A-Rod still stuck on homer No. 599

Yankees slugger extends long-ball drought to 43 at-bats

Updated: August 3, 2010, 10:05 AM ET
By Ian Begley | Special to ESPNNewYork.com

ARODJim McIsaac/Getty ImagesA-Rod's most recent dry spell is his 13th-longest homerless drought since joining the Yankees in 2004.

NEW YORK -- The search for 600 continues.

Alex Rodriguez left Yankee Stadium stuck on career home run No. 599 on Monday night after going 0-for-5 with two strikeouts in the Yankees' 8-6 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays.

It's been 11 games and 43 at-bats since A-Rod last homered.

"It is going to happen. You want him to continue to have good at-bats and try not to think about it too much," Joe Girardi said. "It is easy to say, 'Don't think about it,' but he is asked about it every day, the flashbulbs are going off every time he goes up. So I don't know how you don't think about it."

Rodriguez, who is hitless in his past 14 at-bats, insists he isn't bothered by the specter of joining the 600 Club. He's bothered by the fact that he doesn't have a hit in the past four games (he appeared as a pinch-hitter Sunday against the Rays).

"I haven't produced, and the bottom line is to produce and to help the team win. I haven't done that in the last few days," Rodriguez said.

He struck out in the third and fifth innings against the Jays on Monday, and grounded to short with two outs in the ninth against Toronto reliever Kevin Gregg.

"The last thing you're looking for is a home run," Rodriguez said of his last at-bat on Monday. "You're looking to get on base or draw a walk and give [Robinson Cano] an opportunity."

The three-time MVP's search for 600 will continue Tuesday night against Toronto left-hander Ricky Romero. He's 4-for-15 against Romero, with no home runs.

A-Rod's lack of run production in the past four games may be cause for concern for the slugger. But his 43 at-bat homerless streak isn't anywhere near the worst dry spell of his career.

The most recent drought ranks tied for his 13th-longest homerless stretch since joining the Yankees in 2004, and the 30th-longest drought since the start of his MLB career. He's had five homerless skids of more than 60 at-bats. His career-high is 102 at-bats without a long ball over a 32-game stretch in 1994 and 1995.

"I don't believe in guarantees, but I can almost guarantee that he is going to hit his 600th home run at some point," Girardi joked before the game.

When A-Rod failed to reach the milestone last Sunday at home against the Royals, Rodriguez lamented that he wouldn't have the opportunity to hit No. 600 in Yankee Stadium. However, he got the chance again after going homerless in the Yankees' seven-game road trip. (Rodriguez was not in the lineup on Sunday against the Rays but pinch hit in the seventh inning.)

Bringing the chase back to the Bronx may not be the best thing for A-Rod. The camera flashes from the stands at the Stadium constantly remind Rodriguez that he's on the brink of joining the prestigious club. Rodriguez insists that he's used to them at this point.

"Obviously, it's inevitable not to think about it because you see all [the camera flashes]," he said.

The cameras will keep flashing on Tuesday night, waiting on A-Rod to produce the picture-perfect moment ... finally.

Ian Begley is a regular contributor to ESPNNewYork.com.

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Ian Begley

ESPN New York Writer

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