Thome, heading home after Arizona workouts, hopes to continue career

SCOTTSDALE, Az. – By chance future Hall-of-Fame slugger Jim Thome ran into famous out-of-work journalist Keith Olbermann at a hotel here, and each felt the need to explain what they were doing here.

Thome said, “This is where I am staying when I’m unsigned.’’

And Olbermann responded, “This is where I’m staying when I’m unsigned.’’

Thursday Thome is actually headed back home to Chicago, upbeat about his shape after working out hard here but till uncertain about his chances to play a 23rd major-league season. He has spent 10 days or so working out here with noted sports trainer Brett Fischer while hoping someone would call from the nearby Cactus League, or even the Grapefruit League.

“I’m still a young lad,’’ Thome, who's 42, joked. “I feel good. We’ll see what happens.’

Thome admitted “nothing’s happening right now,’’ but he’s hopeful that as things get later in the spring, and teams re-evaluate their needs, he might find work.

“We’ll see what happens. It would be great to play. I’d love to continue to play,’’ Thome, 42, said. “The main thing is for me to stay in shape. If a team does call, we’ll see where we’re at.’’

The Indians and Twins were suggested as possibilities earlier, and while Thome has maintained productivity into his 40s (he hit .252 with eight homers, 25 RBI and a .786 OPS for Philadelphia and Baltimore last season), he has nothing brewing right now.

“I played a long time. I feel great,’’ Thome, who has 612 career home runs, said. “It’s just a matter if there’s the right fit.’’

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