Phil Miller covered three seasons of Twins baseball, but that was at a different ballpark for a different newspaper. Now Miller returns to the baseball beat after joining the Star Tribune as the Gopher football writer in 2010, and he won't miss the dingy dome for a minute. In addition to the Twins and Gophers, Miller covered the Utah Jazz and the NBA for six years at The Salt Lake Tribune.
ANAHEIM, CALIF. -- Jim Thome hit career home run No. 598 off Dan Haren in Thursday's 7-1 loss to the Angels, bringing No. 600 within closer reach, as the Twins return to Target Field.
On Friday, the Twins open a six-game homestand against the White Sox and Red Sox.
"I think everyone knows how I feel about the Minnesota fans," Thome said. "To do it at home would be very, very special. It would be awesome."
Only seven players have reached 600 home runs: Barry Bonds, Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Ken Griffey Jr., Alex Rodriguez and Sammy Sosa.
Thome remembers the days leading up to his 500th home run in 2007. On Sept. 7-9, Thome homered in three consecutive days for the White Sox -- victimizing Twins pitchers Julio DePaula, Matt Garza and Juan Rincon -- to reach 498.
He hit No. 499 three days later off Cleveland's Jake Westbrook, and four days later, on Sept. 16, Thome hit No. 500 off the Angels' Dustin Mosely, celebrating the moment with the fans at U.S. Cellular Field.
"The journey is always very fun," Thome said. "You try to take it day-by-day and not really get ahead, but it’s hard. You get close [to a milestone], you do think about it."
Thome will turn 41 on Aug. 27, but you wouldn't know it from his recent results. He's riding a nine-game hitting streak, during which he's batted .424 (14-for-33) with two homers, four doubles and seven RBI.
After the next homestand, the Twins travel to Cleveland, which would also be a fitting place a Thome milestone.
"Yes, yes," he said. "And the respect I have for them, and where I started. It would be very, very cool as well."
Thome paused for a moment and added, "I think just doing it [anywhere] would be very nice."
Note: La Velle has our coverage Friday from Target Field. So check his blog for the latest updates.
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