When Jim Thome goes into the Hall of Fame, and there is no doubt he will, the left-handed slugger will be representing the Indians.
Thome broke in with Cleveland in 1991 and played for the Indians until 2002. He returned to Cleveland again for a brief stint in 2011 and is one of the greatest hitters in franchise history.
Thome also played for the White Sox from 2006-09, and he hit his 500th career home run on Sept. 16, 2007.
After he was traded to the Dodgers late in the ’09 season, the Sox made it quite clear Thome would be warmly welcomed back as an ambassador or in some other role when his playing days ended.
Have they ended?
Spring training is up and running, and the 42-year-old Thome does not have a job. However, he still wants to play.
“My plan is to kind of stay in shape and see what happens,” Thome told FoxSports.com late last week. “If a team calls for me, mentally, I want to know I’m ready to go.”
Thome has dealt with back issues for years, but he is staying limber by working out at Fischer Sports, a physical therapy and conditioning center in Phoenix.
With 612 career home runs, Thome ranks seventh all-time. But given his age and health, he’d have to catch on with a team as a designated hitter.
Last year, Thome was limited to 58 combined games with the Phillies and Orioles, and he produced 8 home runs and 25 RBI in 163 at-bats.
Thome told Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports he’s not interested in signing a minor-league contract and working his way back to the majors.
“For me, what I’ve done in the game, I felt really strongly about that,” Thome said. “I still love the game. I want to keep playing. But I felt after 20-something years, that if I went back and played, I wanted to get an opportunity to make a club at the major-league level. To me, that was important. I feel I’m still a major-league player. I’m in great shape.”
Fresh start for Myers:
Needing to beef up the back end of their bullpen late last season, the White Sox acquired veteran right-hander Brett Myers in a trade from the Houston Astros.
Myers was OK, going 3-4 with a 3.12 ERA in 35 appearances.
As expected, the Sox declined his $10 million club option at the end of the season and wound up replacing Myers with another veteran right-hander — Matt Lindstrom.
Myers signed a one-year, $7 million contract with the Cleveland Indians, and he is back in the starting rotation.
The 32-year-old Myers has bounced between the rotation and bullpen his entire career. He’s started for seven of his 11 years in the majors and is 89-79 with a 4.27 ERA.
The Indians had one of the worst rotations in baseball last season, and Myers is being viewed as a key addition.
“He will throw a bundle of innings,” Indians manager Terry Francona told Cleveland reporters. “The one thing he’s always prided himself on is staying out there through 6 (innings), at least. If you do that, you keep your team in the game.”
Sergio Santos, the converted shortstop who led the White Sox with 30 saves in 2011 before being traded to the Toronto Blue Jays, made it back to the mound Sunday in a Grapefruit League game.
Santos, who was shut down by the Jays last April before having shoulder surgery in July, pitched 1 perfect inning of relief for Toronto.
“For my first inning and it being Feb. 24, I’ll take it,” Santos told reporters. “It’s good. The ball was coming out free and easy.”
Santos’ fastball was clocked at 95 mph. If he stays healthy and regains his old form, the right-hander could reclaim his role as the Blue Jays’ closer.
Casey Janssen, who took over for Santos last April, is also coming back from shoulder surgery and might not be ready for Opening Day.Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.