Alomar, Blyleven salute slugger Thome

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CLEVELAND (AP) -- Roberto Alomar and Bert Blyleven think Jim Thome will one day join them in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Both recent inductees threw out ceremonial first pitches before their former team, the Cleveland Indians, opened a three-game series with the Minnesota Twins on Friday night.

As they did when they were inducted in Cooperstown in late July, both Alomar and Blyleven expressed how grateful they are to be enshrined. They said Thome, who entered play Friday for the Twins just two home runs shy of 600 for his career, belongs there, too.

Thome's name should not be lumped in with others linked with steroids, according to Alomar, who was Thome's teammate, and Blyleven, who has been a TV broadcaster covering the slugger's games for years.

The 40-year-old Thome hit his first 334 homers for the Indians before leaving as a free agent after the 2002 season.