Joe Mauer joins the 2,000 hit club

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With his second hit on Thursday evening against the White Sox, Twins first baseman Joe Mauer became the 287th member of baseball’s 2,000 hit club. He singled in the third inning to knock in the Twins’ second run and hit a two-run single in the seventh off of White Sox reliever Aaron Bummer to extend his team’s lead to 4-0.

Mauer can very quickly ascend up baseball’s all-time hits list. Clyde Milan is in 228th place at 2,100 hits. Barring a serious injury, Mauer is likely to accrue at least another 100 — if not 150 — hits this season, which will allow him to jump at least 60 or so places.

The only players to have played at least half of his games as a catcher while racking up at least 2,000 hits are Ivan Rodriguez (2,844), Ted Simmons (2,472), Carlton Fisk (2,356), Jason Kendall (2,195), Yogi Berra (2,150), Mike Piazza (2,127), Gary Carter (2,092), Johnny Bench, (2,048), A.J. Pierzynski (2,043), and Mauer. Mauer is also the third player to accrue at least 2,000 hits as a Twin, joining Kirby Puckett (2,304) and Rod Carew (2,085).

Mauer, who turns 35 years old next Thursday, entered the night batting .387/.525/.516 on the season with four doubles and three RBI in 40 plate appearances.

Phillies’ Bryce Harper to miss start of season after elbow surgery

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PHILADELPHIA – Phillies slugger Bryce Harper will miss the start of the 2023 season after he had reconstructive right elbow surgery.

The operation was performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles.

Harper is expected to return to Philadelphia’s lineup as the designated hitter by the All-Star break. He could be back in right field by the end of the season, according to the team.

The 30-year-old Harper suffered a small ulnar collateral ligament tear in his elbow in April. He last played right field at Miami on April 16. He had a platelet-rich plasma injection in May and shifted to designated hitter.

Harper met Nov. 14 with ElAttrache, who determined the tear did not heal on its own, necessitating surgery.

Even with the elbow injury, Harper led the Phillies to their first World Series since 2009, where they lost in six games to Houston. He hit .349 with six homers and 13 RBIs in 17 postseason games.

In late June, Harper suffered a broken thumb when he was hit by a pitch and was sidelined for two months. The two-time NL MVP still hit .286 with 18 homers and 65 RBIs for the season.

Harper left Washington and signed a 13-year, $330 million contract with the Phillies in 2019. A seven-time All-Star, Harper has 285 career home runs.

With Harper out, the Phillies could use Nick Castellanos and Kyle Schwarber at designated hitter. J.T. Realmuto also could serve as the DH when he needs a break from his catching duties.