Thome says good chance he'll return in 2012

Thome says good chance he'll return in 2012

CLEVELAND -- Jim Thome plans to take some time this offseason before deciding if he will return for another year. The Indians will adhere to whatever route the slugger takes, though the club is looking forward to a healthy return from another left-handed designated hitter, Travis Hafner.

"We've talked to Jim a little bit about it," Indians general manager Chris Antonetti said. "He wants to take a little bit of time with his family and then assess things as the offseason progresses. The one thing that he demonstrated is that he certainly has the ability to contribute to a team, both offensively and in the clubhouse. The decision of whether or not to play next year will be Jim's."

Thome, who has tallied 604 home runs in his 21 Major League seasons, said he was leaning toward returning to the big leagues, though he stressed he would not come to a decision before discussing the issue with his family.

"I still love to play," Thome said. "I would say that the percentage is higher of me coming back next year than not."

Thome split time with Hafner at DH once Hafner -- aka "Pronk" -- returned to the lineup from an injury to his right foot. The Indians acquired Thome from the Twins on Aug. 25 to replace Hafner's production. Hafner made a quicker-than-expected recovery.

"He was able to come back and contribute again," Antonetti said. "As we look ahead to next year's team, we think Travis is going to be healthy. And if he's healthy, he'll be a productive hitter for us."