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Jim Thome’s return to White Sox remote

Talk Sox putting claim for Jim Thome didn’t cause much stir clubhouse. | Getty Images

Talk of the Sox putting in a claim for Jim Thome didn’t cause much of a stir in the clubhouse. | Getty Images

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Updated: November 16, 2011 1:19AM

ANAHEIM, Calif. — The outside possibility of Jim Thome returning to finish the season with the White Sox would have had more intrigue if the Detroit Tigers weren’t so far ahead in the standings.

Talk that the Sox put in a claim for Thome on waivers from the Minnesota Twins didn’t cause much of a stir in the clubhouse because the Sox know they probably couldn’t catch the American League Central leaders if Prince Fielder was in the middle of their lineup.

By late Wednesday night, while the Sox were dying a slow death with an 8-0 loss to Jered Weaver and the Los Angeles Angels, there wasn’t much life in the Thome-to-the-Sox rumors, anyway.

Asked if those speculating were barking up the wrong tree, general manager Ken Williams replied with a one-word text message: “Yes.”

Not that the South Siders, who fell to two games below .500, are dogging it or anything. They simply know time is running out.

“Everybody knows it’s going to be tough, especially the way the Tigers have been playing,’’ reliever Jesse Crain said before the game.

“It’s unfortunate that we haven’t put that run together.’’

The Tigers (70-59), who had a five-game winning streak snapped by Tampa Bay, gave the Sox (63-65) a chance to close to five games in the loss column, but Cy Young candidate Weaver (15-6) celebrated the signing of his $85 million, five-year contract extension by scattering four hits, striking out eight and walking two in seven innings. He lowered his AL-best ERA to 2.03.

Maybe the Sox will have better luck when they downgrade to Mariners left-hander Charlie Furbush on Friday, when their five-game road trip continues in Seattle.

Making room for Thome — or any other improvement — on the roster would be an issue the Sox would have to work out. If Carlos Quentin doesn’t get well soon from the sprained AC joint in his left shoulder and has to go on the disabled list retroactive to Sunday, he won’t be able to come off until Sept 5. With Paul Konerko seemingly locked into the designated-hitter role because of his ongoing calf issue, there might not have been a place for Thome, anyway.

In addition to Thome, the Sox also reportedly put in a claim for Twins outfielder Jason Kubel, but it’s possible that move and the Thome claim were made to block the Cleveland Indians from claiming them. The Indians need left-handed hitting punch after putting Travis Hafner (foot strain) on the DL.

If more than one AL team claims a player, the team with the worst record wins the claim. If a player is claimed, a trade would need to be worked out in a 48-hour time period. It’s possible the Sox and Twins couldn’t come up with a deal.

“I spend all morning trying to figure out how that works,’’ Guillen said of non-waiver trade activity before the Sept. 1 deadline. “[It seems like] everybody is on waivers.’’

This is true. Konerko, Matt Thornton, John Danks and Gavin Floyd reportedly were among those put on trade waivers by the Sox. Teams usually pull players back after putting them on to gauge interest.

Kubel would be a more attractive acquisition than Thome, but he projects as a Type B free agent — possibly a Type A — so he could cost the Sox a good prospect in return for the Twins giving up a compensation pick in next year’s draft.

Sox rookie Zach Stewart (1-3, 4.76) gave up seven runs and seven hits in six innings. The Sox, who are 7-2 in their last nine road series, lost consecutive road games for the first time since July 19-20 at Kansas City.

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