Mauer collects five hits. The sun also rises.

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mauer swinging.jpgWe all know what a great player Joe Mauer is, and on Saturday evening in Kansas City he built on that legend.  The Twins catcher finished 5-for-6 with two RBI in Minnesota’s extra-innings victory over the Royals.  It was his third career five-hit game and the 14th time Mauer has tallied four-plus hits.

Mauer, 27, signed a massive $184 million contract extension this spring, but it hasn’t slowed him down one bit.  In fact, he’s off to the one of the best starts of his career, batting .381/.453/.571 with seven doubles, a triple and 12 RBI through 63 at-bats.

The Twins, for those who dabble in the value of standings this early in the season, are 13-5 and sit comfortably atop the American League Central.  With the White Sox struggling mightily and a Detroit pitching staff that includes Dontrelle Willis, the Twins have a real opportunity to run away with that division.

Phillies to induct Bobby Abreu to Wall of Fame

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The Phillies announced on Wednesday that former outfielder Bobby Abreu will be inducted into the team’s Wall of Fame this summer. The ceremony will take place on Saturday, August 3 as part of the club’s alumni weekend festivities.

Abreu, 45, went to the Phillies in a November 18, 1997 trade with the then-Devil Rays that sent shortstop Kevin Stocker to Tampa. Abreu somehow only made two All-Star teams while in Philly. Overall, he hit .303/.416/.513 with 195 homers, 814 RBI, 891 runs scored, and 254 stolen bases in 1,353 games with the Phillies. Abreu ranks sixth all-time among Phillies in career Wins Above Replacement (47.2), fourth in on-base percentage (.416), seventh in slugging percentage (.513), second in OPS (.928), 10th in runs scored (891), fourth in doubles (348), second in walks (947), and seventh in stolen bases.

Perhaps Abreu’s most noteworthy accomplishment as a Phillie was winning the 2005 Home Run Derby at Comerica Park in Detroit. Abreu hit 24 home runs in the first round and finished with 41 total, both records at the time. That is his most noteworthy accomplishment as, through no fault of his own, the Phillies never made playoffs during his tenure from 1998-06.

Abreu’s tenure came to an end on July 30, 2006, when the club packaged him with pitcher Cory Lidle and sent them to the Yankees in exchange for Matt Smith, Carlos Monasterios, C.J. Henry, and Jesús Sánchez. Obviously, not a trade that worked out well for the Phillies. Abreu played through his age-40 season, spending time with the Angels, Dodgers, and Mets along with the Yankees. He retired with 60 career WAR, per baseball Reference, as well as a .291/.395/.475 batting line, 288 home runs, 1,363 RBI, 1,453 runs scored, and 400 stolen bases.

Phillies fans have always criminally underrated Abreu. He was viewed as lazy and uncaring, in part due to racism and in part due to a perceived aversion to outfield walls. Abreu’s induction into the Phillies’ Wall of Fame is a long time coming, but it will also likely spur a lot of debate on sports talk radio in the months leading up to it.