CLEVELAND (AP) — Jim Thome was hoping for a magical weekend — hitting his 600th career home run in the city where it all began.
Instead, Minnesota’s slugging designated hitter will have to wait to become the eighth Major Leaguer to reach the 600 mark. Thome, who hit his first 334 homers while playing for the Indians between 1991 and 2002, has been sitting at 598 home runs since Aug. 4.
“It would have been very special to do it here,” he said after Sunday’s game was postponed by rain. “I have a lot of great memories in Cleveland. We had some great teams and moments I’ll never forget.”
Thome was 0 for 2 with a walk in Friday night’s 3-2 loss. He was hitless in three at-bats and drew another walk in Saturday’s 3-1 defeat. Thome was in the lineup Sunday against left-hander David Huff and struck out in the second inning. The game was delayed by rain in the top of the third and finally called after a wait of 2 hours and 55 minutes.
Thome, who has nine homers this season, will take his quest for history to Detroit, where the Twins open a three-game series Monday night. Minnesota returns to Target Field to start an 11-game homestand on Thursday.
While Thome would like to make history as soon as possible, he knows patience is important when chasing a milestone.
“It’s just not something you can do,” he said. “That’s what makes it so special. I’m feeling good at the plate. I’m swinging the bat well.”
Thome had a large contingent of fans for the weekend series in Cleveland, including his wife and two children, his father, sister and brother-in-law.
“They’re going to follow me until I hit it,” Thome said. “I know my dad (Chuck) will. He won’t miss it. He’s retired so he can enjoy it.”
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire can’t wait to see Thome hit No. 600.
“He’s as good as they get,” Gardenhire said. “Everybody roots for him. It’s entertaining watching him. Those are the kind of players people pay money to watch. He’s put himself in that elite category.”
Gardenhire came to town hoping the Twins could gain some ground in the AL Central standings. Instead, he watched his team drop two frustrating games. The only highlight was Sunday’s rainout in which the Twins trailed 1-0 after two innings.
“In a strange way it helped us because some guys got a day off,” Gardenhire said of catcher Joe Mauer, right fielder Michael Cuddyer and center fielder Denard Span, who have been dealing with assorted injuries.
Mauer has been battling general soreness all season. Cuddyer, who injured his neck taking early batting practice Friday, could return for the Detroit series. Span, who missed two months with a concussion, is batting .032 (1 for 31) since returning from the disabled list on Aug. 2 and has said he doesn’t feel 100 percent. Gardenhire isn’t sure if he will be in the lineup Monday.
First baseman Justin Morneau returned Friday after missing two months because of neck surgery and had one hit in eight at-bats against Cleveland.
NOTES: No makeup date was announced for the rainout. The Twins return to Cleveland for a series Sept. 23-25. … RHP Kevin Slowey made his first start of the season. He allowed a run in his first three pitches, giving up a double to Ezequiel Carrera and an RBI single to Shin-Soo Choo. Slowey walked a batter in the first, but struck out two and escaped with no further damage. He retired the side in order in the second. … Gardenhire said the rotation for the Detroit series will remain Francisco Liriano, Nick Blackburn and Carl Pavano.
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