A-Rod approaching 700-homer milestone

Girardi hopes slugger doesn't press with big number near

A-Rod approaching 700-homer milestone

MINNEAPOLIS -- Alex Rodriguez is just five swings away from becoming the fourth man to hit 700 home runs, but the Yankees' slugger says he has not started thinking about the countdown.

"Not really," said Rodriguez, whose two-run homer off Ricky Nolasco helped the Yankees to a 7-6 win over the Twins on Saturday. "Honestly, it felt so good to drive the ball, hit the ball in the air and help us win a game. It was nice to be in the mix."

With eight homers this season, Rodriguez has 695 for his career. Only three men have hit more: Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755) and Babe Ruth (714).

"I think you always wonder when guys are around milestones, how it's going to affect them," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "I don't think it has affected him to this point because I don't see him swinging for the fences. But I always worry when guys get around milestones, and that's a big milestone. It concerns me."

Rodriguez has had some experience on that front. In 2007, he went into a 22 at-bat hitless skid before hitting career homer No. 500 off the Royals' Kyle Davies. In 2010, Rodriguez endured a 46 at-bat delay between homers 599 and 600, the latter of which came off the Blue Jays' Shaun Marcum.

"That's a milestone that can weigh on you," Girardi said. "I think that would be your hope, that when he gets to 698, he hits two real quick and gets it out of the way."

Saturday's home run moved Rodriguez past Ruth on the all-time total bases list, where he now ranks sixth with 5,795. Ruth had two fewer.

Girardi said he believes Rodriguez has started swinging the bat well after a slow start to his season. Over his last 25 games entering play on Sunday, Rodriguez has tallied six homers and 18 RBIs.

"I think that he has been productive. I don't think he's overswung," Girardi said. "He's gone the other way. I think that's a key for him."

Worth noting

Mark Teixeira is now expected to play in three Minor League rehabilitation games for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, beginning on Tuesday. Girardi said the Yankees are planning to activate Teixeira on Saturday against the Twins in New York.

• The Yankees returned left-hander Chasen Shreve from his Minor League rehab assignment, reinstating him from the 15-day disabled list and optioning him to Triple-A. Girardi said the Yankees want to see Shreve hit his spots and be more effective with his splitter before he returns to the Majors.

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch, on Facebook and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.