Alex Rodriguez makes more this year than his hometown Florida Marlins.
Boosted by his new deal with the New York Yankees, A-Rod tops the major league baseball salary list at $28 million, according to a study of contract terms by The Associated Press. The 33 players on the Marlins' opening-day roster and disabled list total $21.8 million.
"The Marlins? It's amazing," Rodriguez said. "And they still seem to find a way to be very competitive. They have a great pool of talent; they made some unbelievable trades, so they have great personnel people. To win two championships in 11 years, that's really admirable, and I'm very proud of that organization, being from Miami."
For the first time in baseball history, the average salary topped the $3 million mark. The 855 players on opening-day rosters and the DL averaged $3.15 million, up 7.1 percent from last year's starting average of $2.94 million.
Florida's highest earner doesn't even make the average. Pitcher Kevin Gregg tops the Marlins at $2.5 million.
"My best friend came into town, and he mentioned something about Johan Santana making $15 million more than our five starters combined," Marlins catcher Matt Treanor said. "It's something to laugh at, but at the same time, it is what it is. Those guys put on the uniform like us. When it comes time to start the game, it doesn't matter how much money the Yankees or whoever make."
Treanor's friend was exaggerating a bit Santana makes $12 million more than Florida's rotation. Still, the Marlins' payroll was less than half that of the No. 29 team, Tampa Bay ($43.8 million).
"They've won a championship more recently than we have as an organization. So there's many different ways to skin a cat," said Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, whose team lost to Florida in the 2003 World Series. "Alex earned that contract in the negotiation. Right now, the Marlins are in a different place. But they've got a stadium coming on board and they're going in the right direction, and I think they've already proven they know how to build something."
The Yankees, not surprisingly, topped the payroll list at $209.1 million, and A-Rod was No. 1 in the majors for the eighth straight year. New York first baseman Jason Giambi was second at $23.4 million, followed by Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter ($21.6 million) and Boston left fielder Manny Ramirez ($18.9 million).
PERCENTAGE OF FOREIGN-BORN PLAYERS DROPS: The percentage of major league baseball players born outside the 50 states dropped slightly this year.
Of the 855 players on rosters at the start of the season, 239 were born outside the 50 states, the commissioner's office said Tuesday. The percentage dropped to 28.0 from 29.0 last year, when it was just off the record of 29.2 set in 2005.
The Dominican Republic had the most with 88 a decrease of 10. It was followed by Venezuela (52), Puerto Rico (29), Japan (16), Canada (14), Mexico (11), Cuba (eight), Panama (five), Australia (four), Taiwan (three), Colombia, Curacao and South Korea (two apiece), and the Netherlands, Nicaragua and the U.S. Virgin Islands (one apiece).
The New York Mets (15) had the most foreign-born players for the third straight year and were followed by Seattle (14), and the Chicago Cubs, Cleveland, Detroit and the New York Yankees (11 each).
PETTITTE GETS MOSTLY CHEERS: Andy Pettitte received a mostly warm welcome Tuesday when he was introduced at the New York Yankees' opener after a tumultuous offseason.
New York was scheduled to play the Toronto Blue Jays on Monday but the game was postponed by rain. Both clubs were introduced and lined up along the base lines before the 84th and last opening day at Yankee Stadium.
Pettitte got mostly cheers when he came out of the dugout for his introduction but there was a small undercurrent of boos. He didn't seem to notice as he exchanged greetings with his teammates while he moved down the first-base line.
Pettitte is slated to make his first start Saturday after a rocky offseason that included the left-hander admitting to using human growth hormone and accusing buddy Roger Clemens of using HGH.
MARTINEZ STRAINS HAMSTRING: Mets starter Pedro Martinez left New York's game with the Florida Marlins after 57 pitches Tuesday night with what the team said was a strained left hamstring.
He retired Marlins catcher Matt Treanor on a groundout for the first out of the fourth inning, then immediately began grabbing his back and midsection, clearly in distress.
Jorge Sosa came in to relieve Martinez, who limped a bit as he walked off the field. Martinez who has battled foot, hip, calf and shoulder injuries over the past two seasons allowed home runs in each of the first two innings, the first time in his major league career that happened, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.