Turning Thome Loose

Jim Thome stepped into the batter’s box in the ninth inning Tuesday to face Diamondbacks left-hander Mike Zagurski.

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:

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Agreed. Can’t get too much worse. They said he’d start 2-3 times a week, so let him start.

Not like he’s playing anyway, so if he tweaks his back, he’ll just be sitting like he is now… no harm no foul.

Darn. I thought that headline meant they were cutting Thome loose. Enough already.

So 3-4-5 hitters last night go 0-12, and we’re watching Cholly ‘hitting guru’ Manual let Rollins stay in the 3 hole. I thought a team’s best hitter hit there. Wigg and Chooch are around .300 and hitting it hard too. Move them up Manual! Your job should depend on it.

I agree turn Thome loose,but for good he is just a shell of the player he once was

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