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Updated: November 2nd, 2010 3:07pm
Bill Smith on Jim Thome: 'It's safe to say we're going to pursue him'

Bill Smith on Jim Thome: 'It's safe to say we're going to pursue him'

by Phil Mackey
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Following a season in which Minnesota Twins designated hitter Jim Thome hit .283/.412/.627 with 25 home runs in just 340 at bats, it comes as no surprise that the team is interested in re-signing the slugger.

General manager Bill Smith confirmed that notion, telling 1500 ESPN on Tuesday that "it's safe to say we're going to pursue him."

"He has to make a decision if he's going to continue to play, and I think he enjoyed it here tremendously," Smith said. "And he was certainly a good fit for us."

Shortly after the Twins' Game 3 loss to the New York Yankees in the ALDS, Thome, 40, was asked if he planned on returning for a 21st season.

"I think so, yeah," Thome said. "I'm going to go home and spend a little time with my kids and have a little fun with them. We'll figure it out here. But yeah, I think I'm going to come back next year."

Thome, along with 10 other Twins players, officially became a free agent on Tuesday. Major League Baseball got rid of its week-long free-agent filing system this year, changing the process so that pending free agents simply become free agents the day after the World Series.

Carl Pavano and Matt Guerrier are classified as Type-A free agents. Orlando Hudson, Jesse Crain, Brian Fuentes and Jon Rauch are Type-B free agents. Randy Flores, Ron Mahay, Clay Condrey and Thome are unclassified.

Nick Punto also became a free agent when the Twins declined his $5 million option last week.

Phil Mackey is a columnist for He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Phil | @PhilMackey | Mackey & Judd