OAKLAND -- The Twins watched one former American League Central nemesis put together a strong offensive performance for the A's on Wednesday night. And now they hope they can prevent another from doing the same on Thursday. One day after stating that his team was not interested in signing Frank Thomas, manager Ron Gardenhire instead had to prepare to face the Big Hurt. The A's agreed to terms with Thomas on Thursday and he was immediately inserted into the lineup, batting in the cleanup spot for Oakland.
Gardenhire has already seen former Royals designated hitter Mike Sweeney do some damage during the series. Sweeney went 2-for-3 with a home run and two RBIs as the DH for the A's in a 3-0 victory Wednesday. But for as tough as Sweeney has been on the Twins, Thomas has an even longer history of haunting the club. Thomas holds a career .295 batting average against Minnesota and his 53 home runs vs. the club are the most he's had against any team in his career. Most of that damage came during Thomas' 16 seasons with the White Sox. When asked about facing yet another hitter with a history of success against his club, Gardenhire couldn't help but sigh. And be glad that Thursday's game marked the series finale with the A's. "One more day," Gardenhire said. The Twins skipper was not surprised by the move. The A's have been struggling a bit with their DH slot due to Sweeney's knee injury. And Thomas seemed a likely fit for the club considering his history. In 2006, his lone season with Oakland, Thomas hit .270 with 39 home runs and 114 RBIs for the A's and earned the American League Comeback Player of the Year award. "They were looking for some pop and once Frank gets going, I guess he can bring it to them," Gardenhire said. A notorious slow starter, Thomas, 39, has struggled out of the gate once again this year. He batted .167 with three homers and 11 RBIs in 60 at-bats for Toronto and is hitless in his past 13 at-bats.
Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.