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Monday, April 8, 2013

Hunter approaching 2,000-hit, 300-HR milestones

DETROIT — The way Torii Hunter killed the Tigers early in his career, you might have figured he’d do something like come to Comerica Park and collect a milestone like his 2,000th hit.

Then again, you may not have figured he’d do it in a Tigers uniform.

The consummate Tigers-killer from the early part of the millennium, Hunter is approaching a pair of career milestones, at least one of which he may pass in the final three games of the current home stand.

The Tigers play a three-game set with Toronto starting Wednesday, before heading to the West Coast for nine games in 10 days.

Hunter sits just three hits shy of 2,000 and three home runs shy of 300 in his career. He’s already recorded 11 hits in the Tigers’ first six games of the season, and will become the 14th active player to reach that milestone whenever he does.

UPDATED: Hunter had a third-inning double Tuesday, followed by singles in the fourth and sixth inning to reach the milestone. He was given a standing ovation by the 28,989 fans at Comerica Park when it was announced, acknowledging it with a tip of the batting helmet.

What does it mean to him?

“It means I’m getting older,” he said Sunday with a laugh. “It’s an honor. I was always known for my defense and you gotta stay healthy to get 2,000 hits and come ready to play every day. For me to be around this long and get 2,000 hits, I’m very thankful.”

Hunter got his first home run at Tiger Stadium in 1999, hitting it in the top of the fifth inning, off Brian Moehler. He picked up hit No. 1,000 in Baltimore’s Camden Yards in August of 2006.

His top two stadiums for hits, unsurprisingly are the Metrodome (604) in Minnesota, where he played 11 seasons, and Angel Stadium in Anaheim (419), his home park for the past five seasons. Comerica Park (87) is fourth on the hit parade, behind Kansas City’s Kauffman Stadium (97).

“I thank God for the opportunity to come out here and play major league baseball and get 2,000 hits. So I can always tell my grandkids, I got 2,000 hits in the major leagues. Top that, little sucker,” he joked. “I’m definitely honored.”


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