Tigers-Yankees Preview

Now that he’s achieved yet another milestone, Alex Rodriguez and the New York Yankees can totally focus on continuing their success in the Bronx.

The Yankees will try to win there for the 11th time in 12 games Saturday night as they continue their series against the Detroit Tigers.

Rodriguez became the 29th player to reach 3,000 hits with a first-inning homer off Justin Verlander in Friday’s 7-2 win. The oft-maligned veteran is the first to hit that mark since former teammate Derek Jeter also did it with a homer in the same park in 2011.

"It’s a magical number," said Rodriguez, batting .277 with 13 homers and 35 RBIs after sitting out 2014 on a drug suspension. "I’m enjoying this season as much as any."

Rodriguez has also recorded his 2,000th RBI and passed Willie Mays for fourth on the all-time home run list – he’s now at 667 – this season. He’s batting .400 with two homers and nine RBIs in his last 14 at Yankee Stadium.

"It’s a lot easier to deal with it when you’re trying to win games, you’re just trying to be productive and help the team win," he told MLB’s official website.

New York (37-30) has batted .308 and averaged 6.6 runs during its 10-1 home stretch.

Rodriguez, however, is 0 for 7 versus Alfredo Simon (7-3, 2.58 ERA), who allowed a homer to Mark Teixeira but struck out seven in 7 1-3 innings of a 2-1 victory over New York on April 20.

"He’s been probably our most consistent pitcher on a start-by-start basis," Detroit manager Brad Ausmus told MLB’s official website.

Though Detroit starters have a 4.74 ERA during a 2-7 road stretch, Simon is 3-2 with a 1.80 ERA in his last six starts. The right-hander went five scoreless innings before a 1-hour, 51-minute rain delay ended his outing during Sunday’s 8-1 victory over Cleveland.

"I just feel great," Simon said. "All my pitches work really good right now."

Nathan Eovaldi (5-2, 5.12) is 3-0 with a 3.89 ERA in six home starts but must bounce back after allowing eight runs and nine hits in a career-low two-thirds of an inning during Tuesday’s 12-2 loss at Miami.

"Going out there and not making it through an inning is extremely frustrating and hurts the team," said Eovaldi, who was 2-0 with a 3.00 ERA in his previous four outings.

New York manager Joe Girardi appears confident his right-hander has the stuff to successfully move forward.

"I think it’s a young starter still developing secondary pitches, still finding out exactly in a sense what type of a pitcher is he," Girardi said. "He knows he’s got a great fastball, but he has to use his secondary stuff. His split has been working really well and he’s thrown well lately."

Eovaldi proved that while yielding a run in seven-plus innings of a 5-2 victory at Detroit (34-33) on April 21.

Victor Martinez went 0 for 2 with a walk and a strikeout versus Eovaldi in that contest. He was 1 for 4 on Friday in his first action since going on the disabled list May 19 with knee inflammation.

"You know when something’s hurt, eventually it’s going to get better," he said. "It’s not going to stay hurt the rest of your life."