AL Central rumors & news: Jim Thome, Vladimir Guerrero, Chris Perez

Lisa Blumenfeld

Jim Thome trying to be king of the American League Central. At least it seems that way. The future Hall of Famer headlines our AL Central division news.

If there were two divisions in baseball that are forgotten more than the rest, it's the American League Central and the National League West. The NL West has gained in popularity with a mere two World Series titles out of the last three coming from the division and the Los Angeles Dodgers spending money like they stole it. That means the lowly AL Central is the primary forgotten division. Despite the Detroit Tigers' success and the White Sox World Series victory in 2005, the central needs some help. And I'm here to provide that help in the form of rumors and news.

I only have eyes for you

Jim Thome's love affair is obvious now. His mistress has been revealed. He can no longer shashay around town without the whole world knowing who he loves (can you imagine Thome sashaying?). He loves, forever more, the AL Central. In his never-ending quest to play for AL Central teams exclusively, Thome has now been linked (again) to the Minnesota Twins. Here's more:

Vlad the Impaler

Vladimir Guerrero is not done playing baseball. He may have had his struggles last year, and he's had a hard time sticking anywhere lately, but the veteran outfielder wants to play. There has been some interest from teams in Guerrero, but none of that interest has come from the American League East. It's unlikely that Guerrero plays in the NL, so the AL Central and the AL West are possibilities for the likely DH candidate.

  • Before Guerrero can land with a Major League club, he will likely have to sign a minor leaguue deal. He has expressed a willingness to do so if it allows him to continue his attempt at a comeback.
  • We know the deal won't be with the Minnesota Twins. Guerrero approached the Twins, and they said "no thanks" to the possibility of any contract. That does not rule out a team like the White Sox or the Royals. The Indians are probably already stocked.

Perez's Pain

The Cleveland Indians may be playoff contenders and the sexy pick to win the division, but they are still human. This was proven today by Chris Perez. He was the first of the significant injuries the Indians will suffer this season. No, I'm not picking on the Indians and predicting bodily harm for their players. It's normal for every team to be hit with difficult to overcome injuries.

  • The Indians closer has strained his pitching shoulder. He will be shelved for the next 3-4 weeks thanks to the injury. However, the Indians will keep a close eye on him. They can't risk aggravating the injury further and causing problems that linger into the season.
  • Jerry Crasnick of ESPN says the Indians are hopeful that Perez will be healthy and ready to go by Opening Day. However, Perez has told reporters he's not talking about the injury. Usually that's a sign of frustration which generally comes after relatively severe injuries. Let's hope Perez's injury isn't more serious than we have been led to believe.

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