Turning Thome Loose
He took two sliders for strikes and one for a ball before he struck out swinging on a fastball.
Too many of Thome’s at-bats have looked like that through 19 games. The Phillies signed him in November to be a late-inning threat, but so far he is 2-for-17 with two walks and 10 strikeouts overall and 0-for-8 with six strikeouts as a pinch-hitter. That is a small sample size, much like Freddy Galvis‘ 0-for-12 start was a small sample size (although there were folks who absolutely knew Galvis could not play in the big leagues based on those 12 at-bats.) But there is no question Thome doesn’t look good at the plate. Charlie Manuel was asked Wednesday morning if he needs to play him more to try to get him sharp. Manuel said in spring training he thought Thome could play more than once a week at first base while Ryan Howard is injured, but so far Thome has started just three times.
Thome has looked OK in those starts, going 2-for-9 with two walks (.364 on-base percentage).
“I need to find him more at-bats,” Manuel said. “I know that.”
Does he not think Thome can handle an extra game a week at first base?
“I’m definitely comfortable playing him,” Manuel insisted. “He definitely can hold his own at first. And I think he can play a couple times a week. I’m planning on getting him more at-bats.”
Getting Thome more at-bats at least will let the Phillies know if he has anything left in the tank. If it gets him going, great. If the extra workload tweaks his back and puts him on the DL, well, the potential trade-off seems worth the risk to me.
The Cubs have right-handers pitching Saturday, Sunday and Monady. Let’s see if Thome gets into the lineup one of those days. He should.
Jim Salisbury and I co-authored the book The Rotation, which is now available. Check it out here! Here are our upcoming book signings:
- Sunday: Citizens Bank Park, 12:30 – 1:30 p.m.
- May 10: Tredyfrrin Public Library in Stafford, PA, 7:30 p.m.
- June 2: Citizens Bank Park, 3:00 – 4:00 p.m.