Thome returns as a short-term DH ... but then what?

By Danny Knobler | Baseball Insider
PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies added a full-time designated hitter to their roster Wednesday.

No problem. They begin a run of nine straight games in American League parks Friday night in Baltimore.

Then what for Jim Thome?

Thome admitted Wednesday that there's basically no chance he can play in the field because of the lower-back injury that sent him to the disabled list for five weeks. He admitted that he has a hard time thinking of himself as just a pinch hitter, something he basically only did for the month he spent with the Dodgers in 2009.

"You take a lot of pride in being [an everyday] player," said Thome, after the Phillies activated him from the DL Wednesday.

But he also loves the Phillies and loves manager Charlie Manuel. He's not ready to say that he'd welcome a trade to an American League team that might want a DH after next week.

"Let's just look and see where we're at," Thome said.

Where we're at now is that the Phillies definitely have a use for Thome in the near term. Manuel believes they'll have a use for him in the long term, too.

"We carried [Matt] Stairs and [Ross] Gload," Manuel said, pointing to previous Phillies who were basically full-time pinch hitters. "Thome's as likely to hit one as those two were.

"We'll see."

Thome was just 2-for-18, without an RBI, before he got hurt. He struck out against Dodger closer Kenley Jansen in a ninth-inning pinch hit appearance Wednesday night.

In April, Thome played first base four times, his first four games in the field since 2007 and the first time he'd played that many games on defense since he was last a Phillie, in 2005.

He won't say he made a mistake in coming to a National League team.

"When the Phillies call you and they want to sign you, you do it," he said.

This was going to be the last stop, the last chance to finally win a World Series.

Thome still believes he can help.

"I feel in my mind I can still get it done," he said.

He knows, though, that he can't play first base. He's a full-time DH, for a team that only needs a DH for the next 10 days -- and with no real idea what happens after that.


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