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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.

Major League Baseball to launch an elite league for high schoolers

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This morning Major League Baseball announced a new elite league for high school baseball players who are likely to be drafted. It’s called the Prospect Development Pipeline League. It’ll start next summer and it’ll invite 80 of the best current high school juniors to play in a league in Florida from June through early July, culminating in an All-Star Game during MLB’s All-Star week.

The idea behind the league: to combat the current system in which a couple of pay-to-play, for-profit showcase leagues dominate the pre-draft season. Major League Baseball, schools and a lot of players’ parents have criticized this system because it favors rich kids who can afford to play in them. Major League Baseball is also likely quite keen on having greater control over the training, health and physical monitoring of prospects.

As Jeff Passan notes in his report about this, there will be a component of the program which involves live data-tracking of players during games and drills. Major League Baseball has become increasingly interested in such things but is limited in how much it can do in this regard due to labor agreements. There is no such impediment with high schoolers. Your mileage will vary when it comes to how you feel about that, I presume.