(CBS) There’s a chance former White Sox slugger Jim Thome could return to the team as Robin Ventura’s hitting coach, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

Thome has not committed to playing in 2012 and he remains very close with Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf.

According to the Sun-Times’ Darryl van Schouwen:

Sox farm-system hitting instructors Jeff Manto or Tim Laker are thought to be the top candidates to replace Greg Walker as hitting coach, but don’t rule out the Sox making a play for a bigger name such as Jim Thome.

Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf loves Thome, 41, whose playing career likely has come to an end after 21 seasons and 604 home runs. The two share the annual habit of meeting for dinner to talk about life and baseball after the season, and a major-league source said Reinsdorf was eager to move this year’s meeting up.

It’s worth noting that GM Kenny Williams was willing to bring Thome back after the 2009 season, but it was Ozzie Guillen who wanted go in a different direction because he didn’t think he would have enough playing time available for the future Hall-of-Famer. Thome has always spoken highly of the White Sox and there has never been any ill will in regards to his departure from Chicago.



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