Thome relishes Twins reunion

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 13, 2012 - 12:01 PM

Jim Thome was back at Target Field on Tuesday, getting ready to bat cleanup as the Phillies designated hitter, and looking back fondly on his time with the Twins.

Leading up to the series, Thome was peppering his former Twins teammates with e-mails and text messages, talking smack.

"Those guys are like my brothers," Thome said. "I've sent them texts and e-mails all year long. That's kind of what we do is have fun. One thing about the game is you always stay in touch with your guys, and I think everybody knows my two years here were very, very special."

Thome, who will turn 42 in August, joined the Twins for the 2010 season, when they opened Target Field, and led that team with 25 home runs in only 276 at-bats.

"They gave me an opportunity, to be honest, when not many teams were calling," Thome said. "I thank them for that."

Thome returned to the Twins in 2011 and hit 12 more home runs before the Twins sent him to Cleveland in late August, giving him a chance to be part of another pennant race.

Twins fans gave Thome another loud ovation before his first at-bat Tuesday, just as they did last September, when he returned with the Indians. He finished last season with 604 career homers, and after returning to the Phillies, he didn't hit his first one this year until Saturday in Baltimore. He spent five weeks on the disabled list because of a lower-back strain, but appeared to find his swing just in time to face the Twins.

Thome went 2-for-4 Tuesday with a two-run single off Alex Burnett. He also scored the Phillies' first run in their four-run fourth inning after drawing a leadoff walk off Nick Blackburn.

Asked how much longer he expects to play, Thome said: "I have to be honest, I do like to compete, I really do. I like to dig in that box. I like to work. I like to come to the ballpark. That, I think, is a tough part. I know I'm getting toward the end, but I can still go out and do it. That's what drives me to come back every year. It'll be interesting going forward here."

Rosario breaks face bone

Eddie Rosario, who was listed as the Twins' No. 3 prospect last winter, suffered a fractured facial bone just beneath his nose Tuesday during batting practice for Class A Beloit. Rosario was leading off from third base when the line drive hit him right beneath his nose.

Twins minor league director Jim Rantz said Rosario likely will spend six weeks on the disabled list.

Rosario, 20, converted from center field to second base this year and has batted .293 with seven homers, 20 doubles, nine stolen bases and 40 RBI in 62 games. His on-base percentage is .362 and his slugging percentage is .473.

Saturday's starter TBA

All signs still point to the Twins promoting Liam Hendriks from Class AAA Rochester to make Saturday's start against the Brewers, but the team doesn't plan to announce a decision until Thursday and might not make the official roster move until after Friday's game.

Hendriks went 0-2 with a 9.00 ERA in four starts for the Twins earlier this year but is 5-0 with a 1.94 ERA in seven starts for Rochester since his demotion. The past two have been especially impressive, as he's racked up 18 strikeouts and only three walks in 15 2/3 scoreless innings.

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