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Gaining entry into the 2,000-hit club is usually among the final chapters in most players’ careers. For Yomiuri Giants star Hayato Sakamoto, though, reaching one of the game’s crowning achievements for a hitter might just be a stepping stone to even more rarefied heights.

Sakamoto on Sunday became the 53rd player to collect 2,000 NPB hits and immediately everyone began looking ahead.

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