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Thome joins White Sox front office

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CHICAGO (AP) - The Chicago White Sox announced Tuesday that former designated hitter Jim Thome has joined the franchise as a special assistant to general manager Rick Hahn.

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Thome spent parts of four seasons with the White Sox, hitting 134 home runs and driving in 369 runs. He will consult with Hahn and assistant general manager Buddy Bell while working with the White Sox and their minor league affiliates.

Thome, who pointed out he is not officially retired from baseball, said he was contacted by Bell two weeks ago about the opportunity to help coach.

``He's a strong baseball guy,'' White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. ``I look forward to having him around.''

Thome's 612 homers over his 22-year career are seventh in major-league history. He also had 1,699 RBIs. He was a member of two pennant-winning teams in Cleveland (1995, 1997) and his solo home run was the only run in the White Sox's 1-0 win over Minnesota in a one-game playoff for the 2008 American League Central division title.

Thome was a favorite of White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf when he played in Chicago from 2006-2009.

``When I left here, Jerry always joked he wanted me to come back at some point,'' Thome said.

The Peoria, Ill., native called the fact that it's a Chicago team a key to being involved in coaching.

``This is my home,'' he said. ``This is where I live.''

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