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01/14/11 4:12 PM EST
Twins, Thome work on recruiting Pavano
With designated hitter back on board, sights set on starter
By Kelly Thesier / MLB.com
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins brought back one key piece from their 2010 American League Central champions when they agreed to terms on a one-year, $3 million contract with Jim Thome on Friday. And now that Thome has his deal in place with the Twins, he said his goal is to recruit another key veteran from last year's team to join him. That would be pitcher Carl Pavano, who led the team with 17 wins and 221 innings pitched last season. The right-hander was a leader for the Twins in their rotation; now a free agent, he has been in discussions with the Twins about a return. "He was a big part of what we did last year," Thome said on Friday. "As players, you all respect and love each other, and I hope Pavano comes back. He would make our team very similar to what it was last year. If he does come back, it's a great addition. "Trust me, when I get off the phone with you [reporters], I will definitely be recruiting him and be sending him some text messages." General manager Bill Smith said during Thome's conference call that the Twins are continuing negotiations with Pavano and his agent, Tom O'Connell. Smith characterized the talks with Pavano's camp as "good," and there were indications last week that the two sides were making progress on a deal, although no deal has appeared close to being completed yet. The hope, Smith said, is to have a decision from Pavano within the next week. "I think Carl is probably at a point that he wants to step back and review his options," said Smith. "We're hoping that he'll make a decision hopefully within the week, only because players want to know where they're going to camp, managers want to know who's in camp and GMs and front office people want to know if they can move on to the next phase of contracts. "I think it's in everybody's best interest to get these resolved as you head to mid-January. We're very optimistic, very hopeful of bringing Carl Pavano back to this ballclub."