Round-tripper merits road trip

The Twins designated hitter expects to personally present the ball he hit for his 600th career homer to the Baseball Hall of Fame sometime after the season.

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Twins designated hitter Jim Thome (25) hugged Danny Valencia as the Twins celebrated Thome's 600th career home run Monday.

Photo: Duane Burleson, Associatead Press

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Jim Thome hit the 500th home run of his career on Sept. 16, 2007, but didn't donate the ball to the Hall of Fame until Aug. 28, 2008. When he did, he traveled to Cooperstown, N.Y., with his father, Chuck, to personally present the ball.

He figures he'll do the same with his 600th home run ball, which he struck Monday in Detroit.

"The plan right now is to keep the ball and to take it home at the end of the year," Thome said. "Let my family take pictures with it. It will be cool for them to see it. I think from that point we'll take it to the Hall of Fame or whatever."

Thome's home run landed in the Tigers bullpen, where bullpen coach Mike Rojas got the ball and handed it over the wall separating the bullpens to Twins reliever Matt Capps.

While the Twins completed a 9-6 victory over the Tigers that night, Thome's son, Landon, was holding the ball in the clubhouse.

Thome called that trip to Cooperstown "magical'' and looked forward to doing it again.

"You know what,'' he said. "I might make that a family trip.''

Cuddyer feels he's close

Twins outfielder Michael Cuddyer's neck has improved after he received an epidural Thursday in the Twin Cities.

After resting on Friday, Cuddyer plans to go through standard pregame routines Saturday and be available off the bench. Then he hopes to start Sunday. If all goes according to his plan, he will miss nine games, not including a possible appearance Saturday.

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire had expressed concern over how long he could wait for Cuddyer to get healthy before sending him to the disabled list, which would mean he couldn't play until Aug. 26. Cuddyer and Danny Valencia are the only regulars to not be placed on the disabled list this season, and Cuddyer is doing all he can to avoid the list.

"For me, the issue of going on the DL is that I didn't want to be ready to play on Sunday and can't come off until next Friday," he said. "I didn't want to have to miss another six games if I didn't have to."

Other injury updates

Trainer Rick McWane provided several injury updates before Friday's game.

Infielder Matt Tolbert (sprained left wrist) took a full round of batting practice Friday and was available off the bench.

Outfielder Jason Repko, on the 15-day DL because of left shoulder bursitis, is close to heading out on a minor league rehabilitation assignment.

Righthander Scott Baker, on the 15-day DL because of a right flexor strain, is close to beginning a throwing program.

Etc.

• Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez (right knee surgery) was out on the field early for the second consecutive day to work out in front of the coaching and medical staffs but has not been activated from the DL. He's not expected to play Saturday but could play Sunday.

• Joe Nathan was honored before the game for becoming the Twins' career saves leader. The club presented him with a plaque and autographed uniform, as well as the pitching rubber from the night he set the record.

• Outfielder Jason Kubel rejoined the team after missing a game for a family matter.

• The Yankees claimed lefthander Aaron Laffey off waivers from the Seattle Mariners. Righthander Ivan Nova will start Sunday for New York.

• The Twins-Indians game that was rained out Sunday will be made up Sept. 24 in Cleveland as part of a doubleheader, with games at 12:05 and 6:05 p.m.

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