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.
Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw entered Wednesday night’s start against the Marlins without having issued a walk in his previous three starts. In fact, his last walk came on April 3 when he issued a free pass to Paul Goldschmidt with the bases empty and two outs in the bottom of the first inning. All told, Kershaw was on a streak of 26 walk-less innings before he took the mound at home to take on the Marlins.
Kershaw started off Wednesday in character, striking out the side in the first inning. He issued a walk in a tough second inning, but escaped without allowing a run. Kershaw walked two more in the third and again danced out of danger. In the fourth, Kershaw walked Lewis Brinson to load the bases with no outs and — you guessed it — didn’t end up allowing a run. His errant control finally came back to bite him in the fifth when Kershaw issued back-to-back two-out walks, then served up a three-run home run to Miguel Rojas down the left field line. His night was done when he completed the inning. Five innings, three runs, five hits, six walks, seven strikeouts, 112 pitches.
The six walks Kershaw issued over five innings marked his first six-walk outing since April 7, 2010 when he issued six free passes to the Pirates in 4 2/3 innings. The only other time he walked as many was on August 3, 2009 against the Brewers in a four-plus inning outing. Kershaw hasn’t even walked five batters in an outing recently — the last time was September 23, 2012 against the Reds.