On a night when the Twins honored the greatest slugger in team history, Harmon Killebrew, Jim Thome returned from the disabled list after missing three weeks with an oblique injury and hit the 592nd and 593rd homers of his career.
Throughout his 21 seasons Thome has homered once every 21 at-bats versus left-handed pitchers compared to once every 11 at-bats against right-handed pitchers, but both of last night’s bombs came versus southpaws.
Thome is now seven homers away from becoming the eighth player to join the 600-homer club and 16 homers away from tying Sammy Sosa for seventh on the all-time list with 609 long balls.
Moving up any further than that is likely out of the question, at least for this year, but Thome already ranks fourth all time among left-handed hitters behind only Barry Bonds, Babe Ruth, and Ken Griffey Jr.
Bill Whitehead of the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that the Braves have signed reliever David Hernandez to a minor league contract on Sunday. He’ll report to spring training as a non-roster invitee.
Hernandez, who turns 32 years old in May, signed a minor league contract with the Giants in February. He requested and was granted his release on Friday when he learned he wasn’t making the team’s 25-man roster to open the season.
Hernandez pitched for the Phillies last year. He compiled a 3.84 ERA with an 80/32 K/BB ratio in 72 2/3 innings.
Scott Kazmir won’t begin the regular season in the Dodgers’ starting rotation. Manager Dave Roberts said after Kazmir’s Cactus League outing on Sunday that it “doesn’t make sense” for the ailing Kazmir to break camp in the rotation, Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times reports. The lefty will instead rehab some more and join the rotation at a later time.
Kazmir has been battling a hip issue which has caused his mechanics to suffer. He was clocked in the low 80’s 10 days ago and wasn’t much better on Sunday afternoon.
Last season with the Dodgers, Kazmir posted a 4.56 ERA with a 134/52 K/BB ratio in 136 1/3 innings, his worst numbers since returning to the majors in 2013.