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Jeter is Nearing Milestones

Derek Jeter entered play Tuesday on the verge of becoming the New York Yankees' career hits leader, but even more significant milestones could be in his sights.

For the 35-year-old, three hits short of Lou Gehrig's franchise-record 2,721, chances of becoming the 28th big-leaguer with 3,000 hits are good. But what of Pete Rose's major league-record 4,256?

Jeter is ahead of Rose's pace. His 2,718 hits 73 days after his 35th birthday are 80 more than Rose had at that point.

"I don't think about what's going to happen six or seven years down the road," Jeter told news reporters Monday. Actually, he would need nearly eight seasons of the 194 hits a year he has averaged to catch Rose.

Once asked if his record could be broken, Rose said, "The first 3,000 hits are easy." He might have a point. Rose played until he was 45, getting 983 hits after his 40th birthday.

Statistical analysts don't count on players lasting that long. Author and Boston Red Sox senior adviser Bill James uses a career-projection formula that factors age and recent performance, while the website Baseball Think Factory has a similar system developed by site editor Dan Szymborski. James' projections have Jeter finishing with nearly 3,500 hits, Szymborski's closer to 3,600.

Szymborski also analyzed the Seattle Mariners' Ichiro Suzuki, 35, who got his 2,000th major league hit Sunday. Szymborski projects 800-plus more hits for Suzuki. He converted the 1,278 hits Suzuki had playing in Japan and projected he would have 4,188 hits had Suzuki spent his entire career in the majors.

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