OAKLAND -- The countdown will follow Derek Jeter every time he sets foot into a batter's box from here on, with the Yankees captain now standing 19 hits away from rolling his odometer to 3,000 hits.
But Jeter had time to kid around about a milestone with one of his old buddies on Monday, joshing the A's Hideki Matsui about his continuing pursuit of a 500th homer -- he's four shy, having hit 332 in Japan and 164 in the Majors.
"I'm happy for him," said Jeter, who was told of the mark by several reporters from Japan. "Obviously I don't want him to get it while we're here, but I've always told you he's one of my favorite teammates. He was fun to play with, fun to watch. It's good to catch up with him."
Matsui went 0-for-3 in the Yankees' 5-0 win over the A's on Monday. He is batting .222, with three homers and 19 RBIs in 46 games this season.
He was allowed to sign with the Angels as a free agent after earning World Series MVP honors with the Yankees in 2009, having hit all but 24 of his MLB homers in pinstripes after debuting with the Bombers in 2003.
"It's good to see him," manager Joe Girardi said. "He meant so much to our organization and what we did in 2009."
As for Jeter, who singled in the first inning off Oakland's Trevor Cahill, he said that thoughts of the 3,000th hit are still being kept at bay.
"That's still a ways away. We're trying to win games," Jeter said. "I'm trying to have good at-bats, and hopefully it's going to come."