Alex Rodriguez receives milestone ball, settles bonus dispute
Controversial slugger Alex Rodriguez got the home run ball he smashed for his 3,000th career hit after all on Friday after the New York Yankees made a deal with the fan who caught it.
New York: Controversial slugger Alex Rodriguez got the home run ball he smashed for his 3,000th career hit after all on Friday after the New York Yankees made a deal with the fan who caught it.
Zack Hample presented the ball to Rodriguez prior to the Yankees` home game against Tampa Bay.
The Yankees will donate $150,000 to Pitch In For Baseball, a charity which Hample has supported since 2009 that provides equipment and promotes youth baseball in underprivileged areas around the world.
Rodriguez became just the 29th Major League Baseball player to reach 3,000 hits when he belted a homer against Detroit at Yankee Stadium on June 19.
Hample, a collector who says he has caught more than 30 home run balls -- and snagged some 8,000 overall, including foul balls, batting practice balls and out-of-play balls thrown to him by players or field attendants -- initially said he didn`t plan to give the ball to Rodriguez.
A-Rod is back this season after serving a 162-game suspension for doping violations linked to the Biogenesis steroid scandal.
It wasn`t Rodriguez`s first brush with doping. In 2009, he had admitted to using banned performance-enhancing substances from 2001 to 2003 while with the Texas Rangers.
Since returning this season, Rodriguez has been gradually winning back once-hostile fans, but response to his achievement of a spate of milestones has been mixed.
On Friday, however, it was announced that the Yankees and Rodriguez had resolved a disagreement over financial bonuses due to him for historic statistical accomplishments.
Since May, Rodriguez and the team had been at odds over a $6 million bonus payment that he believed he was owed for tying Willie Mays for fourth on the all-time home run list.
The Yankees had argued the bonus was at their discretion, and they opted out because his drug-tainted past means the achievement isn`t marketable.
In a deal announced jointly by Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association, the Yankees have agreed to pay $3.5 million to charity, with $1 million divided among the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, Boys & Girls Club of Tampa and Pitch In For Baseball, with the Major League Baseball Urban Youth Foundation receiving $2.5 million.
Not only will the Yankees save $2.5 million from the original $6 million bonus figure, they will save more than $2 million in luxury tax they would have owed had the payment gone to Rodriguez himself.
MLB commissioner Robert Manfred will consult Rodriguez in deciding exactly which initiatives the $2.5 million payment to the Urban Youth Foundation will benefit.