CLEVELAND -- Earlier this week, Jim Thome had a homecoming of sorts when the Orioles returned to Minnesota, where he played during the 2010 and 2011 seasons.
This weekend, the homecoming will go to another level.
The Orioles are in Cleveland for a four-game series with the Indians, a place where Thome will always call home. The Baltimore designated hitter spent the first 12 years of his big-league career with the Indians, and he returned to play for the Tribe for a month at the end of last season. The Indians honored Thome with a special night last September, and they plan to build a statue of him outside of Progressive Field.
Thome was in the lineup, batting third on Friday night.
"I always enjoy coming back," Thome said. "It's humbling to have an organization put a statue up in honor of you. That's something that I think every player dreams of. It's pretty awesome."
Thome has only been a member of the Orioles for a few weeks, but he said he has already enjoyed the experience. The 41-year-old veteran believes the young Orioles have a bright future, and he's happy to be on a team in contention.
"We've got some really talented, everyday guys," Thome said. "Guys in our bullpen, the starting pitchers -- a lot of them are young, but they're up and coming. They've done some good things. Hopefully we can continue to let that ride into the second half and do some special things."
No matter where he goes, Thome said he constantly has younger players approach him. They know Thome's seen a lot in the game of baseball, and they want to hear about things that have worked for him over the years.
"Guys today, especially the young guys, they want to learn," Thome said. "They want to ask questions to learn and find out, 'hey, maybe I can do this.' It's been good, it's been fun."