© 2009 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.

09/03/09 12:43 AM ET

A-Rod notches 2,500th career hit

Single comes in fifth inning of finale in Baltimore

BALTIMORE -- Alex Rodriguez notched his 2,500th career hit on Wednesday at Camden Yards, singling to center field in the fifth inning off Orioles right-hander Jason Berken.

And in a career filled with milestones, Rodriguez had to admit that he hadn't exactly been counting down to this one, even though it seems fairly significant in his march with the game's greats.

"I didn't know it was even 2,500, to be honest with you," Rodriguez said. "I thought I had 2,550 or something. What was big was winning the game and contributing."

Indeed, Rodriguez's 2,500th hit was not nearly as important to the Yankees as No. 2,501. In that seventh-inning at-bat, Rodriguez lined a two-run single to center field that gave New York a 3-1 lead on the way to a 10-2 victory.

"I think I've, for the most part, felt the most comfortable in those types of at-bats for some reason," he said. "It's one of those years. Close and late, I've had my best at-bats all year. I felt that way in '07 also."

The 2,500th hit was Rodriguez's 96th since returning from the disabled list on May 8 at Baltimore, having missed 28 team games after undergoing right hip surgery.

"This year, whatever I do is a bonus," he said. "I feel so blessed to just be out there playing with this hip surgery."

At the end of Wednesday's game, the three-time American League MVP had 23 home runs and 75 RBIs in 99 games. He owns 576 career home runs, good for ninth place on baseball's all-time list, with Mark McGwire next, at 583.

Since breaking into the Major Leagues as an 18-year-old with the Mariners in 1994, Rodriguez has had three 200-hit seasons, but none since a 201-hit campaign in 2001 with the Rangers.

A 12-time AL All-Star, Rodriguez had 869 hits in his first five full seasons with New York after being traded by the Rangers before the 2004 season. He is in the second year of a 10-year contract that extends through 2017.

Of his milestone hit, he said, "It just says that I've been very fortunate to stay healthy for so many years. It also means that I've played on some great teams with great teammates."

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.