The Twins re-signed Jim Thome to a one-year contract today; Carl Pavano could be next.

General Manager Bill Smith said the team has had many discussions with Pavano and hopes to have an answer from him within the next week.

It sounds like Pavano is taking the weekend to think about the Twins' final offer, with a decision expected Monday or Tuesday.

"We’re very optimistic, very hopeful of bringing Carl Pavano back to this ballclub," Smith said.

Thome said he will go into a recruiting mode with Pavano in an effort to get him to return, too.

"I think Pavano’s a big part of what we did last year," Thome said. "I’ll be honest with you, I hope to God Pavano comes back because I think it would make our team very similar to what we had last year."

Thome is returning on a one-year deal that will pay him $3 million with incentives for plate appearances. Last year, he made $1.7 million, including $200,000 in incentives.

Thome, 40, said he will not enter 2011 assuming it's his last season. He'll go in hoping to play at least two more years. His back didn't give him as much trouble last year as it had in previous seasons.

"A couple years ago, I was a little banged up," Thome said. "And last year, I had an opportunity to not play every day. I kind of healed up a little bit from the little injuries that I had the year before. As I got going, I kind of learned my role. I was playing a little bit more, and I was like, 'I can still do this.'

"And then when I got home this winter and I wasn’t hurting, my body wasn’t beat up, I go, 'Wait a minute, this may work out.' "

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