Thome spent his first 12 seasons in Cleveland, hitting a franchise-record 334 of his 598 career home runs for the Indians. He’ll have an opportunity to become the eighth player to reach 600 this weekend at Progressive Field.
“I have respect for them, especially because that’s where I started,” Thome told the Twins’ official website. “So that could be very, very cool as well. But I think just doing it would be very cool.”
Thome went 2 for 4 with two RBIs - including a tiebreaking double in the eighth inning - in Wednesday’s 5-2 victory over Boston, which snapped a six-game skid for Minnesota (52-65). The veteran is hitting .360 with two homers over his last 14 games.
“We have a big road trip here,” Thome said. “We’ve got Cleveland and Detroit, who are the top of the division. So we’ll just play the game, and won’t think ahead or look ahead.”
The Twins may be looking forward to Morneau’s return. The former AL MVP hit .423 in six rehab games with Triple-A Rochester after having a disk fragment removed from his neck on June 29.
Masterson, fourth in the AL in ERA, is 4-1 with a 2.18 ERA in his last nine appearances. He allowed two runs in two innings Tuesday before a rain delay, and Cleveland (58-57) went on to beat Detroit 3-2 in 14 innings.
The right-hander has made two starts against the Twins this season, though he didn’t earn a decision in either despite allowing only two runs in 15 2-3 innings. He’s yet to beat the Twins in seven starts, going 0-3 with a 3.77 ERA.
Pavano had a solid outing Saturday when he allowed two runs - one earned - in eight innings of a 6-1 loss to the Chicago White Sox. He had allowed 15 runs over his previous two starts and is 0-3 with a 7.20 ERA in five outings since the All-Star break.
The veteran right-hander has pitched well against Cleveland this season - including a duel with Masterson on June 8 - going 1-0 with a 2.57 ERA in two starts, with the Twins winning both matchups. Pavano is 3-2 with a 2.72 ERA in seven career starts against the team that traded him to Minnesota in 2009.
The Indians fell three games back of first-place Detroit in the AL Central on Thursday, losing 4-3 to the Tigers. Still, Cleveland took two of three in the series to trim a game off its deficit.
“It was a great series,” manager Manny Acta said. “We came in trying to shorten up the distance and we did.”
Cabrera and teammate Carlos Santana(notes) had a heated dugout confrontation during the first inning Thursday after Santana - normally a catcher - failed to snag what Acta called a “catchable” Lonnie Chisenhall(notes) throw at first base, leading to the Tigers’ first run.
“I like it,” Acta said of the confrontation. “It means people around here want to win.”
Acta will also like having Shin-Soo Choo(notes) back in the lineup. The outfielder was activated from the disabled list Friday after being sidelined since June 25 with a broken thumb after being hit by a pitch.