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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.

Ex-Angels employee charged in overdose death of Tyler Skaggs

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FORT WORTH, Texas — A former Angels employee has been charged with conspiracy to distribute fentanyl in connection with last year’s overdose death of Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs, prosecutors in Texas announced Friday.

Eric Prescott Kay was arrested in Fort Worth, Texas, and made his first appearance Friday in federal court, according to Erin Nealy Cox, the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas. Kay was communications director for the Angels.

Skaggs was found dead in his hotel room in the Dallas area July 1, 2019, before the start of what was supposed to be a four-game series against the Texas Rangers. The first game was postponed before the teams played the final three games.

Skaggs died after choking on his vomit with a toxic mix of alcohol and the powerful painkillers fentanyl and oxycodone in his system, a coroner’s report said. Prosecutors accused Kay of providing the fentanyl to Skaggs and others, who were not named.

“Tyler Skaggs’s overdose – coming, as it did, in the midst of an ascendant baseball career – should be a wake-up call: No one is immune from this deadly drug, whether sold as a powder or hidden inside an innocuous-looking tablet,” Nealy Cox said.

If convicted, Kay faces up to 20 years in prison. Federal court records do not list an attorney representing him, and an attorney who previously spoke on his behalf did not immediately return a message seeking comment.