Thome just wants to play

Jim Thome wants to play baseball

Aside from all the other intangible factors, this point has clearly been made by the veteran designated hitter both this past weekend to MLB.com at the Joyce Thome Benefit for Children’s Hospital of Illinois in Peoria and Wednesday night at U.S. Cellular Field. Thome and his wife, Andrea, were joined by Paul and Jennifer Konerko and Gordon Beckham on the South Side of Chicago for the Grand Slam Party, benefitting Illinois foster families and celebrating the ‘Bring Me Home’ campaign in partnership with Children’s Home + Aid.

Thome followed up his expressed desire to suit up for season No. 20 with an equally strong desire to avoid talking about contract particulars.

“I would rather not get into all that stuff,” Thome said. “I just want to play baseball.”

This question deflected by Thome centered on whether years or money would make a difference in his ultimate 2010 destination. But finding the right fit stands as the most important factor for the prolific slugger.

Once again, Thome mentioned how there was talk between his camp and a few teams. As for a return to the White Sox, Thome said with a smile that he hadn’t closed down this option from his side.

“My door is open,” Thome said. “All you have to do is call me.

“From my end, everyone knows I love Chicago. It’s a great city, and the organization has treated me great for the last four years. It has been a pleasure to play here and be part of it for the last four years.

“So, we’ll see what happens,” Thome said. “In baseball, you learn how business moves are made and decisions are made. You respect those decisions and move on.”

Other interesting fits in the American League Central for Thome would be Kansas City, who could use a veteran bat at DH, or Minnesota, where a great deal of mutual respect exists, but a full-time DH spot is not open. Konerko, the White Sox captain and a good friend of Thome, said he’s campaigned for Thome to return and won’t really deal with the departure of Thome or Jermaine Dye until he arrives at Spring Training and they aren’t there.

Here’s an idea: What if the White Sox announce a Thome one-year deal Friday as the players are introduced for SoxFest? It’s unlikely to happen, but how’s that for drama?

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