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Thome: Sox path similar to '90s Indians clubs

MLB.com @scottmerkin

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Back when Cleveland tormented the rest of baseball from 1994-2001, the word "rebuild" wasn't as featured in the diamond vernacular as it is now.

But Jim Thome, who was an integral part of the Indians' dominance then and works with the White Sox young core now as a special assistant to general manager Rick Hahn, sees similarities in the current road traveled by the South Siders.

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Back when Cleveland tormented the rest of baseball from 1994-2001, the word "rebuild" wasn't as featured in the diamond vernacular as it is now.

But Jim Thome, who was an integral part of the Indians' dominance then and works with the White Sox young core now as a special assistant to general manager Rick Hahn, sees similarities in the current road traveled by the South Siders.

"I would look at it on a different scale but similar path as how we are trying to approach our club, what John (Hart) and Dan O'Dowd and Mark Shapiro did in the early '90s [for the Indians] as far as we knew we had young players," Thome told MLB.com during a Spring Training sitdown. "It's all about developing them and putting them in the situation to succeed.

"What's great from our end is we kind of get to guide them and help them and show them how the game is played and how to respect it," Thome added.

White Sox Spring Training focus has fallen upon Yoan Moncada, Michael Kopech, Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, Zack Burdi and Zack Collins, to name a few from this critical mass as described by Hahn in building the young core. And the White Sox rebuild stands in its formative stages.

The perception around rebuilds quickly moves away from veteran presences in search of the highest Draft pick, but Thome explained veteran presences add to this development process. Thome pointed to Orel Hershiser, Eddie Murray, Dennis Martinez and Dave Winfield as veterans lending a helping hand in those Cleveland days.

"We had a mix of leader-type guys but also performance leaders that went out and set the bar high on how to work and go about your work ethic," said Thome, who mentioned Sandy Alomar, Jr., Kenny Lofton, Omar Vizquel and Albert Belle among this particular group he defined.

"No matter how you look at it, you have to have guys that do have experience, because let's face it: when those young guys do get a chance to come up, they have to be able to look to a guy and say, 'Hey, I'm feeling this. How should I approach this?'" Thome said. "I remember back in our Cleveland years, when we were so young, we had those older guys we could go to and they kind of guided and helped us during the path that we sometimes had questions about."

Describing the current camp as having a great feel, Thome praised White Sox manager Rick Renteria for setting the tone on how to play the game, respecting it and going about your business. Thome adds that the front office is excited to see what the future holds, with the young acquired players expected to make an impact. Thome will be one of those people helping get them to the next level.

"From the front office to our strength people to our trainers to our coaches, we all want to be on the same page and help put them in that position when they are ready," Thome said. "We all, as our fans will as well, will reap the rewards of their hard work."

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Chicago White Sox