Jim Thome planning to return for the 2011 season

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Jim Thome sits eighth on the all-time career home run list with 589 dingers.  And now it sounds like he might catch Sammy Sosa (609) at seventh before his playing years are through.

The veteran designated hitter told the St. Paul Pioneer Press after Saturday’s ALDS loss that he plans on returning for the 2011 season.

“Yeah, I think I’m going to come back,” he said.

Thome, 40, posted an excellent .283/.412/.627 batting line and 25 homers in just 276 at-bats this year.  It’s safe to assume that he has interest in rejoining the Twins, but his free agent value will be pretty high and a number of teams will be on the hunt for power this winter.

Thome signed a bargain-rate $1.5 million contract with Minnesota last offseason after the White Sox decided to let him walk.  The Twins won the American League Central but were eliminated in the ALDS this weekend by the Yankees.

Cubs designate Brett Anderson for assignment

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The Cubs announced on Wednesday that pitcher Brett Anderson was activated from the 60-day disabled list and subsequently designated for assignment to open up a spot on the 40-man roster.

Anderson, 29, had been out since May 7 with a lower back strain. Across six starts prior to the injury, the lefty yielded 20 earned runs on 34 hits and 12 walks with 16 strikeouts in 22 innings. He has logged just 33 1/3 innings over the last two seasons and has crossed the 50-inning threshold just since dating back to 2011.

Despite his lengthy injury history, Anderson will likely still draw some interest once he becomes a free agent as he throws with his left hand and can be had for the major league minimum salary.

Dilson Herrera has season-ending surgery

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Reds infielder Dilson Herrera will undergo surgery to remove bone spurs from his right shoulder. His season is over.

Herrera, you may recall, was acquired from the Mets in the Jay Bruce trade last year. He played in 49 games for the Mets, but spent all of last year and this year in the minors. In parts of seven minor league seasons he’s hit .295/.357/.461 with 67 homers and 87 stolen bases in 631 games.

Herrera, one time a top-5 prospect of the Mets, was expected to play in the bigs this year, but hasn’t. He was expected to challenge for the starting second base job for the Reds next year, but that’s obviously in doubt now. The worst part: he’ll be out of minor league options next year, so the Reds will be pressured to either put him on the big league roster fresh off an injury or else risk losing him via waivers, which I suspect he’d be unlikely to clear.