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Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Will A-Rod break Bonds' home run record?

By David Schoenfield

For the fifth consecutive season, Alex Rodriguez will miss significant playing time because of injury, after getting hit in the hand on Tuesday night by a Felix Hernandez pitch. Rodriguez will be out 6-8 weeks with a broken bone.

If Rodriguez misses 50 games, that adds up to more than 200 games missed since 2008. Once one of the most durable players in the game (he played 162 games three times and twice played 161), Rodriguez had appeared to be a shoo-in to break Barry Bonds' record of 762 home runs. Now? It's not quite so clear.

Rodriguez sits at 644 home runs and turns 37 on Friday. With five more years on his contract after 2012, he'd have to hit 119 home runs from his age-37 season (2013) through his age-41 season (2017), minus whatever he hits when he returns in September. Say he needs 115 home runs; that's still an average of 23 per season over the next five years. Easy? Not really. Consider:
I'm not saying it's impossible, but even aside from the injuries his home run rate is falling:

2009: one every 14.8 at-bats
2010: one every 17.4 at-bats
2011: one every 23.3 at-bats
2012: one every 23.5 at-bats

Rodriguez hasn't hit more than 30 home runs since 2008. Does he have one more big home run season in him, that season that would make the climb a little easier? I don't believe so. I think it will be a difficult chase to 762.