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Altuve among league leaders in hits

Second baseman's torrid early pace could lead to 200 for season

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HOUSTON -- There's a long season ahead, but Astros second baseman Jose Altuve is on pace to become just the second Houston player to reach 200 hits in a season, joining Craig Biggio, who had a club-record 210 hits in 1998.

Altuve entered play Saturday with 50 hits, which ranked second in the Major Leagues behind fellow Venezuelan Miguel Cabrera of the Tigers, who had 52 hits. Altuve's 35 hits in April were a club record for a second baseman.

"I haven't thought about it," Altuve said of 200 hits. "I just go day by day and try to get my hits and get on base and score some runs and help the team."

Altuve grew up idolizing Cabrera, but the two have grown into friends. In fact, Altuve often leans on the 2012 American League Most Valuable Player for advice.

"We talk on the phone maybe twice a week," Altuve said. "When I don't feel really good at the plate, I text him and say, 'Miggy, I'm doing this. What do you think?' He tells me what I have to do. He's the best hitter in baseball right now. When I hear people say I'm behind him in leading the league in hits, that makes me feel really good."

But would Cabrera still feel good if Altuve passes him?

"I don't think he's going to feel happy about that," he joked. "He keeps telling me what he's doing and tries to help me."

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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