MINNEAPOLIS -- Jim Thome spoke glowingly of the Twins and his tenure in Minnesota before Tuesday's game, the first time he played at Target Field since joining the Phillies. He started as Philadelphia's designated hitter on Tuesday.
The left-handed slugger said he still keeps in contact with many of his former Twins teammates.
"Those guys are like my brothers," Thome said. "I've sent them texts and e-mails and all that all year long. That's kind of what we do is have fun. One thing about the game is you always stay in touch with your guys, and I think everybody knows my two years here were very, very special. They gave me an opportunity to be honest, when not many teams were calling at that time. I thank them for that, I appreciate that, and same thing for the fans as well."
Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said it was fun to see Thome, but he wasn't exactly thrilled to have him back in town. It means Gardenhire's pitchers would have to find ways to get him out.
"Good luck," Gardenhire said. "He's a great hitter. He has a lot of home runs for a reason. You make a mistake on him, and he's going to be ready to hit it.
Thome, whose 605 career home runs are the eighth-most all-time, is hitting .242 this year, with one home run and four RBIs in 33 at-bats.
"Try to stay out of his whomping zone," Gardenhire said. "There's about 600-and-some people who haven't done it. Don't get on the list, and you'll be fine."