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Thome has decisions to make for 2012

The Sports Xchange

Jim Thome's return to Cleveland didn't turn into the happy ending everyone in Cleveland hoped it would be. The Indians fell out of contention shortly after acquiring Thome, and the future Hall of Famer, reduced to part-time duty by a bad back and the return from the disabled list of fellow DH Travis Hafner, has been just so-so offensively.

Friday, however, playing against his most recent ex-team, the Minnesota Twins, Thome was 2-for-4, including a home run and an RBI to help lead the Indians to a 7-6 victory. The home run was career homer number 603.

In 15 games with the Indians, Thome has hit .259 (14-for-54), with two home runs and four RBI. Overall, in a combined 260 at-bats for Cleveland and Minnesota this year, Thome has hit .250 with 14 home runs and 44 RBI.

Thome has been a great presence in the clubhouse, and has also given the Indians a late-season boost at the gate. However, he is probably winding down on the end of his second stint with the Indians, if not the end of his career overall.

Thome has said he will sit down with his family after the season and decide whether, at age 41, he wants to continue playing. If he does, it probably won't be in Cleveland.

Hafner has one more year left on his contract, at $13 million. Because of that hefty price tag, Hafner is virtually untradeable for the Indians. Given the money still owed Hafner, the Indians are probably not inclined to release him. So the most likely scenario is that Hafner returns as the club's DH next year and Thome either retires, or signs with another team.

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