Looking ahead, Thome has few answers

He has 600 home runs but still wants a title. Will that mean leaving Minnesota? "I don't know," he said.

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DETROIT - The day after entering the 600 home run club, Twins slugger Jim Thome rested. At the end of a whirlwind day on the local and national talk show circuit, he was kept out of the starting lineup Tuesday by manager Ron Gardenhire.

"It's cool," Thome said. "It definitely was a long day, but it was well worth it. For the experience, the moment, to do it was very special."

Thome did pinch hit in the ninth inning, striking out to end a 7-1 loss to the Tigers. It was the latest defeat for a disappointing, underachieving Twins team that's outside of the postseason race.

As much as Thome doesn't want to address it, the possibility that he could end up in a pennant race -- with another team -- exists. With the Aug. 31 trade deadline approaching, a team looking for some lefthanded punch could be interested in acquiring Thome for the stretch drive.

And Thome wants to win. He lost World Series while with Cleveland in 1995 and '97. So the pull to join a contender is there.

"I think it's every player's dream to win, and I don't know, to be honest," he said when asked whether he would consider joining a contender for the rest of the season. "That's something, until that happens, is hard for me to comment on that out of respect, out of respect to this."

Thome then patted the Twins pullover he was wearing.

"We're sitting here a day after a special night," he said. "To answer that now, I don't know."

It will be a little tricky to swing a deal, as Thome would have to clear waivers first. A team could put in a claim on Thome, too, in order to block him from going to another contender. If the Twins pulled him back, then he wouldn't be able to be dealt this month. As of Tuesday, Thome had not been placed on waivers.

If Thome clears waivers, the Phillies, Angels and Indians could be among teams interested in dealing for him. All three are in pennant races. He played for the Phillies from 2003 to '05, and he broke in with Cleveland in 1991 and was there until 2002.

The Twins would like to have Thome around for the rest of the season, but indications are that they would be willing to accommodate him if he wanted to join a contender.

Thome admitted that he would have to give some thought to sticking things out with the Twins. This is his second season with the club, and he has enjoyed being part of the organization.

"With all the injuries, anyone who's around the Twins will tell you, I think, the most frustrating part is that we haven't had everyone out there like we have wanted," he said.

Thome has rubbed off on several Twins players who continued to marvel at his immense power, especially to the opposite field. First baseman Justin Morneau has watched Thome prepare for games and can't believe how much work he put in to be the designated hitter.

"I get here early, and he's probably here an hour before I am," Morneau said. "How much work he goes through, even the days he's not playing. He does everything just to get his body ready for four at-bats or pinch hit if he is not starting that game.

"The amount of work he puts in is amazing. If you had a camera follow him around, the cameraman would get tired from watching."

Thome will turn 41 Aug. 27. He will sit down with his family after the season to determine whether he has one more year in him or whether it will be time to watch his children, Lilia and Landon, grow up. He has spent two stints on the disabled list this season.

He could decide to hang up the cleats. But part of him wants to take care of unfinished business.

"When you have gone to two World Series and you haven't accomplished it, it eats at you," he said, "and that's one thing that is still there. Is the next chapter [retirement] out there? That's what you want to find out."

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