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Walker reaches 2,000 hits

Colorado's Larry Walker acknowledges the crowd after doubling for his 2,000th career hit.
 (Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)
Colorado's Larry Walker acknowledges the crowd after doubling for his 2,000th career hit. (Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)
Associated Press

Colorado Rockies slugger Larry Walker became the 234th player — 24th active — to reach 2,000 hits when he doubled off Milwaukee’s Ben Sheets on Wednesday night.

Walker hit a soft liner to third in his first at-bat, but turned on a pitch in the fourth inning that landed just inside the line in right. The fans gave Walker a standing ovation after he reached second and he responded by taking off his cap, waving and patting his heart.

Walker, in his 16th season, is the first Canadian-born player to reach the milestone, and one of 40 players with 2,000 hits, 300 homers, 1,000 runs, 1,000 RBIs and 400 doubles.

The five-time All-Star and 1997 N.L. MVP is a career .315 hitter and one of 12 players in N.L. history to win at least three batting titles. He’s also a seven-time Gold Glove winner.

Walker, in his 10th season with Colorado, is the Rockies’ all-time leader in 12 categories, including home runs, RBIs, hits and games played.

Walker entered Wednesday’s game hitting .350 in seven games since coming off the DL on June 21. He missed the season’s first 68 games with a strained groin.

Montague to be All-Star crew chief

Umpire Ed Montague was picked as the crew chief for the All-Star game and will work behind the plate on July 13 in Houston.

Montague also umpired at the All-Star game in 1982, 1990 and 1998.

He will be joined by John Hirschbeck at first base, Doug Eddings at second, Jim Reynolds at third, Marvin Hudson in left and Sam Holbrook in right.

Sheffield in dispute with former agent

Gary Sheffield contends Scott Boras, his former agent, has no right to a percentage of the salary he’s earning with the New York Yankees.

Boras filed paperwork requesting 5 percent of the $39 million, three-year contract Sheffield signed with the Yankees last offseason, the New York Post reported. Boras said Sheffield agreed to let him represent the outfielder when his last contract with Atlanta ran out, the newspaper said.

Sheffield disagrees, saying he negotiated his current deal with Yankees owner George Steinbrenner himself. And the slugger said he hired a lawyer to file a grievance on his behalf.

Royals fire pitching coach Cumberland

The Kansas City Royals, with the worst record and second-worst staff ERA in the American League, fired pitching coach John Cumberland.

Mike Mason, the organization’s roving pitching instructor, will serve as interim pitching coach for the rest of the season.

Cumberland was in his second season with Kansas City, which went into the season with hopes of gaining its first postseason berth since 1985.

But inconsistent pitching as well as other shortcomings left the Royals with a 29-45 record going into Wednesday night’s game against Baltimore, 11 1/2 games out in the A.L. Central.

Mason, 45, previously served nine seasons as pitching coach in the Royals’ minor league system. His seven-year major league pitching career included stops with Texas, the Chicago Cubs and Minnesota. He was 29-39.

Hentgen dropped from rotation

Former Cy Young Award winner Pat Hentgen was dropped from the Toronto Blue Jays’ rotation.

Hentgen went 2-8 with a 6.42 ERA in 15 starts this season. He will now work long relief.

Red Sox sign Astacio to minor league deal

The Boston Red Sox signed right-hander Pedro Astacio to a minor league contract.

Astacio, rehabilitating from shoulder surgery last June, pitched for the New York Mets last season, going 3-2 with a 7.36 ERA in seven starts. He will report to extended spring training in Fort Myers, Fla., and eventually the Red Sox plan to send him to Triple-A Pawtucket.

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