Jim Thome has lost some weight, but the Chicago White Sox slugger has not lost his patented home run stroke.
The veteran designated hitter crushed the 542nd homer of his career to give the Sox a dramatic 4-2 Opening Day victory over the Kansas City Royals at U.S. Cellular Field.
“I lost 11 or 12 pounds during the off-season and that helps take pressure off my back,” said Thome, who has battled nagging injuries over the past few years.
The American League Central could be the most competitive division in all of baseball. The Tigers and the Indians are the popular choices to emerge. But the White Sox are the defending champions and the Twins battled the Sox to the final day of the 2008 regular season. Not to be taken for granted are the Kansas City Royals, who took two out of three from the White Sox in the opening series.
Kansas City…they have a real nice club,” said Thome. “Their offense, when you look at them on paper, they have some guys who can hit the ball. And their pitching staff is very talented. That makes you, as the opponent facing them, have to be ready.”
The Sox will face the Twins and Tigers in their next two series to get an early read on the AL Central.
“I don’t think there is any one team that can run away from our division,” said Thome. “It is as important early on to win as it is middle of the way through and to the latter part as well. We understand how important it is to get off to a good start and hopefully build a little momentum.”