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Alex Rodriguez: Is 3,000 Hits in the Realm of Possibility Upon His 2013 Return?

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Alex Rodriguez: Is 3,000 Hits in the Realm of Possibility Upon His 2013 Return?
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Alex Rodriguez underwent surgery on his left hip earlier in January, and the recovery time generally takes about six months for the type of procedure he received.

This puts him on track for a July return, but that is currently tentative and depends on how his rehab goes up until that point.

While much attention has been given to Rodriguez's injury, not much attention has been given to the fact that he is currently sitting on 2,901 career hits—just 99 short of the magic 3,000.

This isn't really that unfathomable, though.

Remember the hype surrounding Rodriguez's 500th career home run? Then remember how much less hype was surrounding him for No. 600?

The older Rodriguez gets and the more infamous his struggles become, the less people care about his accolades. Not to mention the fact that his admittance to using steroids has made people care even less.

Regardless, the fact that 3,000 hits is on the horizon is worth noting.

That's a number that cannot be attained without at least some shred of longevity and skill, and Rodriguez stands to become just the second New York Yankee ever  (along with Derek Jeter) to reach 3,000 hits in pinstripes.

Assuming Rodriguez comes back for the first game after the All Star break, that will give him 66 games to reach 99 hits and the 3,000-hit club.

This seems nearly impossible for someone who's been as inconsistent as Rodriguez over the past several seasons.

Rodriguez has played in 2,524 games over the course of his career. He also has the aforementioned 2,901 hits.

When will A-Rod reach 3,000 hits?

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If you do the math, this equals about 1.15 hits per game.

Rodriguez isn't the same player he was for most of his career, but multiplying 1.15 by 66 games comes to nearly 76 hits.

To give Rodriguez a chance at 3,000 hits in 2013, he'll have to produce 1.5 hits per contest—that's 0.35 more than he's averaged over the course of his storied career.

In the season in which he recorded the most hits (1996; 215), he averaged 1.47 hits per game.

Which means he'll have to out-hit the best season of his career. That season wasn't exactly within the recent past (17 years ago, to be exact), so this seems extremely unlikely.

Throw in the fact that he's without a guaranteed job when he returns—it all depends on the production of Kevin Youkilis—and that he almost assuredly won't be playing everyday as he gets re-acclimated to the grind of a MLB schedule, and Rodriguez has virtually no chance at reaching the number in question.

Rodriguez shouldn't worry, though.

He's under contract with the Yankees through the 2017 season, so he'll have five more seasons to reach the storied 3,000-hit plateau. 

There's at least a pretty good percentage that he does it within that time frame, right?

*All statistics via baseball-reference.com and a little bit of math from yours truly.

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