Davies hopes history doesn't repeat itself
In 2007, right-hander surrendered A-Rod's 500th homer
NEW YORK -- The location has changed and almost three years have passed, but for Kyle Davies, the situation remains the same.
On Saturday against the Yankees, the right-hander will look to halt Alex Rodriguez's bid for history and prevent the All-Star third baseman from belting his 600th career home run.
Unfortunately for Davies, he wasn't as lucky 99 Rodriguez round-trippers ago. Making his first career start in the old Yankee Stadium on Aug. 4, 2007, Davies etched his name on the wrong side of history, surrendering Rodriguez's 500th career homer on the first pitch he tossed to him.
And three years later, the memory of yielding that notorious long ball is still fresh in Davies' mind.
"It was really like a perfect storm, because it was my first time pitching in Yankee Stadium, first time with a new team," Davies said. "At the time, it stunk to give [the homer] up, just because it was three runs in the first inning. Coming over to a new team, you want to make a good impression right away, and that's not the best one to make. But in hindsight, I grew from it."
Davies grew more than he expected. Prior to that monumental duel in 2007, Davies allowed the hoopla surrounding Rodriguez's historic moment to get him off his natural rhythm.
"I got a little caught up in it," he said. "I don't think there's anybody who wouldn't. There was a lot of energy in the ballpark. They're changing baseballs out to face him. But I'm three years older, and I didn't have that many starts under my belt."
Davies will need to rely on those lessons on Saturday if he wants to avoid again entering his name into the record books alongside Rodriguez, who is 3-for-5 lifetime against him.
But don't count manager Ned Yost as an interested party. The Royals manager -- who wasn't with Kansas City the last time around -- adamantly downplayed the significance of Davies and Rodriguez's shared history and anticipated rematch.
"A home run is a home run," Yost said. "Whether it's one, 600, 900 -- we don't want him to hit any. That's the least of my worries. What you do is, you go out and play your game."
Despite the similarity in scenario, though, Davies sees some differences in the circumstances from three years ago. The distances to the new Yankee Stadium fences are slightly shorter than in the old Stadium, which he acknowledged gave Rodriguez a potential advantage.
But regardless of the conditions, Davis maintained that he won't pitch any differently on Saturday and plans to aggressively attack Rodriguez during each at-bat.
"To me, it's another ballgame," he said. "I want to continue the path I've been going on. The last four games, I've been six-plus innings and given us some quality starts. That's my main goal. If he hits 600, so be it. As long as we win the ballgame.
"This time, I'm going to be the one who wins the ballgame."
Didier Morais is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.