Thome went from finished to essential

Jim Thome has learned is that it's better for him to not play every day, at age 40. He signed with the Minnesota Twins to be a part-time player this year and when it's his off day, he tries not to do too much; the rest that he gives his body is part of the preparation for when he does play.

And this has helped him go through something of a rebirth this year: Thome mashed career homers No. 583 and 584 on Saturday, as the Twins hammered the Rangers -- with help from Matt Tolbert, as Joe Christensen writes. Thome passed Mark McGwire on the career home run list , and he's got 20 for this season, with his OPS hovering right near 1.000. His production has been vital for the Twins, who have been without Justin Morneau for the last two months, and may have to play without him for the rest of the year.

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