Thome chases ring in LA, but still has Chicago on his mind

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Jim Thome may be chasing his first
World Series ring with the Dodgers, but that doesn’t mean he’s put
Chicago behind him. The native-Illinoisan would welcome a return to Chicago:

”I’ll be honest, I would still love to come back,” Thome said,
tightening the blue batting gloves on each hand. ”I still care about
the city. I mean, we’re going to live there. Chicago’s very fond in my
heart. The time that I spent there, [chairman Jerry Reinsdorf] treated
me great. I guess we’ll deal with that when this is all over with.”

Thome, 39, will be a free agent this offseason. He hopes to have
that elusive World Series ring on order once he files for free agency.
But either way, he knows his days with the Dodgers are numbered.

…But if the Sox say no, Thome seems determined to make a return to the
American League Central and his next call likely would be to the —
brace yourself — the defending division-champion Twins.

This is pure speculation on Chris
De Luca’s part, of course, but the future Hall of Famer should have no
shortage of suitors now that he will be free of the seven-year, $85
million contract he signed with the Phillies in 2002. Equally enticing
will be his chase with history. Thome’s 564 home runs rank 12th
all-time. He is just five home runs behind Rafael Palmeiro for 11th
all-time. If he hits at least 20 home runs next season (something he
has done in 15 of his last 16 seasons) Thome would crack the top 10.

Dustin Pedroia leaves game with a sprained left wrist

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Bad news for the Red Sox today. Second baseman Dustin Pedroia was involved in a collision at first base with Jose Abreu of the White Sox. Pedroia stayed in the game at the time but was replaced by Josh Rutledge in the second.

The injury: sprained left wrist. Which, no, is not good, but there was some initial concern that he may have aggravated the knee which has been bothering him of late. They’ll no doubt provide an update after the game. As of now, the Sox lead the Sox 1-0 in the bottom of the third.

 

Brad Ausmus is not a fan of the Tigers’ schedule

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Everyone in baseball has a tough schedule. The season is a grind. Some teams, however, due to weather and happenstance, have stretches which are a tougher grind than others. The Tigers are in one of those right now.

Detroit played the Astros on Thursday night, and lost in a three-hour and thirty minute contest. It was a getaway day, er, night, and they didn’t get to Chicago to face the White Sox until the wee wee hours of the morning on Friday. Waiting for them: a double header which was to start at 4pm. The first game of it was rained out, though, so they woke up after a short “night’s sleep for nothing. Then the nightcap was delayed over an hour, giving them another late bedtime. On Saturday it was another double header, so it was another early wakeup and another long day at the park. And, of course, another day game on Sunday, before a flight to Kansas City.

This stretch has made Brad Ausmus grumpy. Here he was after Friday night’s late finish:

“Give some credit to the White Sox pitchers, give some credit to the schedule we have. We’ll try to get about 5 hours of sleep and come back tomorrow and play two more.”

He was particularly miffed at the scheduling of two doubleheaders in a row:

“You can’t control the weather but I think it would have been prudent to play the second game tomorrow in August,” he said. “That would have made a lot more sense to me.”

Ausmus did note, however, that it’s not the White Sox’ job to make a schedule that is convenient for their division rivals.

You can look at this in a few different ways. One one level, Ausmus is understandably upset about a particularly arduous stretch of games. On another level he’s probably trying to protect his players, who have looked flat, by changing the subject from their play to the schedule. On a different level, you could say that he’s making excuses for a team that is underachieving. And, of course, those three things are not mutually exclusive.

The thing is, though, that the Tigers have lost seven of ten, are five out of first place, four games under .500 and could conceivably leave their series with the Royals this week in dead last in the Central. Ultimately, extenuating circumstances like the weather and an unfortunate schedule don’t save a manager whose talented and highly-paid team struggles like the Tigers have. If they don’t turn it around soon, Ausmus could be hitting the bricks and the Tigers could be fixing to sell off and rebuild.