Girardi: Pressure now off A-Rod after 660

Girardi: Pressure now off A-Rod after 660

BOSTON -- Now that Alex Rodriguez's 660th home run is in the books, Yankees manager Joe Girardi believes that the slugger will be able to enjoy the relief of any pressure surrounding the looming achievement.

Rodriguez tied Willie Mays for fourth place on the all-time list on Friday with his eighth-inning, pinch-hit home run off the Red Sox's Junichi Tazawa in the Yanks' 3-2 win at Fenway Park. Babe Ruth (714) is in third place on the home run list.

"My guess is, [the pressure] is off and he won't be answering questions, 'When is he going to hit it?,' which is nice," Girardi said. "[Ruth] is pretty far away, so he should be able to get down to normal business now."

Girardi said that he was told that Rodriguez seemed to be emotional after the homer. Given the turbulence of Rodriguez's recent history, including last year's season-long suspension, Girardi said that he believes Rodriguez's feelings are genuine.

"To me, the way I look at it is, I think he just appreciates being back on the field so much, and the opportunities that he has had in his career," Girardi said. "Sometimes you want players to take a second and reflect.

"The one thing I always said about Derek [Jeter], I hope he takes time to enjoy what he's going through. Sometimes when you're going through it, it doesn't always seem like so much fun, even if it's an accomplishment."

With his next homer, Rodriguez will take sole possession of fourth place from Mays, turning some attention to his countdown for 3,000 hits. Rodriguez entered play on Saturday just 44 hits shy, with 2,956 in his 21-year career.

"I still think that he'll be asked a lot about it," Girardi said. "There aren't a lot of people in the big leagues that have had 3,000 hits, so he'll be asked a lot about it. I'm sure he'll think plenty about it, but we also have some time until we get there."

Jeter was the most recent player to join the 3,000-hit club, homering off Rays left-hander David Price on July 9, 2011.

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.