UPDATE: Jim Thome has done it!
Thome just launched an opposite field three-run blast off left-hander Daniel Schlereth in the top of the seventh inning to reach the 600-home run plateau. The veteran slugger was greeted at home plate by his teammates and hugged his family on the field before returning to the dugout.
Thome has two home runs and five RBI tonight. This is his 48th career multi-home run game.
While his chase has largely flown under the radar, Thome is now in the same exclusive club with Sammy Sosa, Alex Rodriguez, Ken Griffey Jr., Willie Mays, Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron and Barry Bonds. Pretty special.
9:00 PM: Jim Thome is on the brink of history.
Thome launched career homer No. 599 in the top of the sixth inning tonight against the Tigers. It was a two-run shot to left-center field off right-hander Rick Porcello which gave the Twins a 5-3 lead. It was his 10th home run of the season and traveled an estimated 412 feet.
Thome, 40, is now just one home run away from being just the eighth player in major league history to reach 600 home runs. Alex Rodriguez was the most recent player to reach the milestone last August.
He should get another chance to bat in the seventh or eighth inning, so stay tuned to see if he can get there.
The World Series champion Red Sox are scheduled to visit President Trump in the White House on February 15. Some have speculated that manager Álex Cora, who is from Puerto Rico and has been critical of Trump and has been a big factor in Hurricane Maria relief efforts, might not go as a form of protest. Thus far, nothing concrete has been reported on that front.
However, third baseman Rafael Devers says he isn’t going to join the Red Sox on their visit to the White House, Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston reports. Devers would prefer to focus on baseball, as the Red Sox open spring training on February 13 and position players have to report on February 17. Per Chris Mason, Devers also said via a translator, “The opportunity was presented and I just wasn’t compelled to go.”
Devers hails from the Dominican Republic and he, like many of Major League Baseball’s foreign-born player base, might not be happy about Trump’s immigration policies. Understandably, he is being tight-lipped about his motivation, but it wouldn’t be surprising if Devers is making a silent protest by choosing not to attend. He is thus far the only member of the team to bow out.
Devers, 22, hit .240/.298/.433 with 21 home runs, 66 RBI, and 59 runs scored in 490 plate appearances last season.
Last year, when the Astros visited Trump at the White House, they did so without Carlos Correa and Carlos Beltrán. Both are from Puerto Rico. It is certainly not unprecedented for individual players to opt out of the White House visit.
No word yet on what food will be served during Boston’s trip to the nation’s capital, but the smart money is on hamberders.