PHOENIX -- Twins designated hitter Jim Thome has been out all month with a left oblique strain, but there may be light. Thome is set to rejoin the team when it returns home from a seven-game western swing on Monday to face the Mariners, manager Ron Gardenhire said on Friday. Thome will continue to work out in Florida at extended spring training while the Twins play an Interleague series this weekend against the D-backs at Chase Field. Under Major League rules, the Twins can't utilize the designated hitter in National League cities, so it negates Thome's presence here anyway. He hasn't played since May 1, and was placed on the disabled list two days later. "Thome's going to meet us back home," Gardenhire said hours before the Twins opened the three-game series. "He still needs the at-bats. He feels good. He's healthy. His timing is still not where he wants it to be. He'll probably get five or six more at-bats tomorrow. That's what he needs. And Sunday he'll probably fly to Minnesota. He can get more done there than coming all the way out here and pinch-hitting once a game."
Thome, 40, was batting .214 with two homers and seven RBIs in 20 games before sustaining the injury. With 591 homers, he's only nine away from becoming the eighth player in Major League history to reach 600.