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Ichiro and Yu chasing 4,000

After going 1-for-4 in the Yankees' 2-1 win over the Angels on Monday, Yankees right fielder Ichiro Suzuki now has 3,994 hits combined between his playing days in Japan and in the United States. He's trying to join the 4,000-hit club, which currently has just two members, Pete Rose and Ty Cobb.

Earlier Monday, the Rangers' Yu Darvish struck out 15 hitters and carried a no-hitter into the eighth inning in a win against the Astros. Darvish has now struck out 207 hitters this year -- 29 more than the next closest starter -- and could potentially strike out 4,000 batters combined between Japan and the United States.

In an ESPN Insider piece, Dan Szymborski examines the historical significance of the former Nippon Professional Baseball players and their chase for 4,000.

Here's a brief snippet:

"In MLB's official record books, Yu Darvish won't end up with 4,000 strikeouts and Pete Rose will remain the Hit King. But that doesn't diminish the abilities of either Darvish or Suzuki and their greatest achievement may not be a final number on a stat line, but destroying any remaining doubt that some of the world's best baseball players have played in Japan."

You can read the piece here.