Detroit designated Thomas' contract for assignment on Wednesday to make room for Drew Smyly on the 25-man roster. There was some hope he would sneak through waivers unclaimed, with teams having set their rosters just over a week ago, but enough teams have a need for outfield help and left-handed hitters, the Twins among them.
"I'm happy for him," manager Jim Leyland told a pool reporter. "I'm not surprised it's the Twins, because [manager Ron Gardenhire] always loved him."
The move ends Thomas' Tigers tenure after eight years. He was a sixth-round Draft pick in 2005 and a fill-in outfielder in 2008 after Curtis Granderson began the season on the disabled list. He played in 102 games in 2009, batting .240 with seven homers and 39 RBIs, but saw his career halted following knee surgery in 2010.