MINNEAPOLIS -- Jim Thome is back in the visitor's dugout at Target Field, this time as a member of the Orioles.
After playing three games against the Twins as a member of the Phillies from June 12-14, Thome returned Monday as Minnesota opened up a four-game set with Baltimore. He entered the opener hitting .257 with a .333 on-base percentage in nine games with the Orioles.
Thome's return to the American League has also allowed him to work as a designated hitter again, though he did not start Monday's game.
"That's been great," the 41-year-old Thome said. "Getting four at-bats and being able to make those adjustments, compared to pinch-hitting once a night and having a lot of respect for guys that are successful pinch-hitting.
"I'm happy to be here. Being able to play a little bit more is a lot of fun, no doubt."
Thome swung the bat well when the Phillies visited Minnesota during Interleague Play. He went 5-for-11 with two home runs and nine RBIs in those three games.
He also left something pretty important at Target Field -- career home run ball No. 607. Thome's shot off of Scott Diamond on June 14 landed in the flowerbed in right field, and was recovered only after the game.
Gardenhire had the ball in his possession prior to Monday's game.
"I've got it," Gardenhire said with a grin. "So he's got to do something to get this ball. He hit it against us. He hurt our feelings. So if he wants the ball back, Jimmy, make my day."