Jim Thome keeps moving up the ladder as a member of the 500 Home Run Club.
The veteran Chicago White Sox designated hitter belted the 564th homer of his career against the Baltimore Orioles Friday night to move into sole possession of 12th place all-time, passing Reggie Jackson. Next on Thome's radar is Rafael Palmeiro, who hit 569 homers.
"It's nice, a neat thing and humbling. But you want to do it in a win," Thome told reporters after the Sox dropped a 5-1 decision to the Baltimore Orioles at U.S. Cellular Field.
The White Sox are in a desperate battle for first place in the American League Central division with the Detroit Tigers, who held a 3 1/2-game lead heading into the weekend. The Sox have a daunting schedule ahead of them in early September against the likes of the Yankees, Red Sox and Twins. In the meantime, non-contending teams such as the Orioles could put a dent in their postseason plans.
Thome has been dealing with a variety of nagging injuries this season, the latest of which was a foot problem.
"It is something that has been going on since spring training," said Thome. "The nice thing is that when it happens, Herm (Schneider, team trainer) does a good job of getting on top of it. We are in a situation here where you want to be out there and you want to play. The injury is a nagging thing and it was getting to a point where I was having a little bit of difficulty running. The best thing was to get some treatment on it before it got worse."
The White Sox recently acquired young outfielder Alex Rios off waivers from the Toronto Blue Jays, offering more lineup flexibility to manager Ozzie Guillen.
"Thome is never going to be 100 percent (healthy)," said Guillen. "With the addition of Rios, it is a nice problem to have as far as outfielders and power hitters in the lineup. I would rather have too many than not enough."
White Sox general manager Ken Williams recently tried to prod his ball club by describing them as an under-achieving group.
"I agree with my boss, but I will take my chances with this club," said Guillen.