Thome plans to 'keep going' in 2010, but where?

Leave a comment

Jim Thome wasted no time declaring his plans for 2010 following the Dodgers’ loss last night, saying after the game: “I still want to play.”
Thome had a minimal role for the Dodgers down the stretch after arriving in a trade with the White Sox, coming to the plate a grand total of just 17 times as a pinch-hitter before going 1-for-3 in the playoffs, but presumably his plans to “keep going” in 2010 involve resuming a full-time job.
At 39 years old Thome is certainly no longer a dominant offensive force, but don’t let the fact that he accepted a bench role for a contender fool you into thinking that he’s washed up.
Thome hit .249/.372/.493 with 23 homers and 74 RBIs in 107 games for the White Sox prior to the trade and finished the season with an .847 OPS in 434 plate appearances overall to rank 24th among all left-handed hitters.
He strikes out a lot, hits for a low batting average, struggles against left-handed pitching, and can’t play first base regularly, but Thome would still bring a ton of power and on-base skills to the table in a return to the AL as a DH. Consider that 12 of the league’s 14 teams got a sub-.850 OPS from their DHs this year, eight of the teams failed to crack .800, and Seattle, Kansas City, Detroit, and Tampa Bay didn’t even top .750.
If the White Sox are interested in Thome returning on a one-year deal, it sounds like that would be his preference.

Bud Norris exits outing with right knee soreness

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Angels’ right-handed reliever Bud Norris made his 23rd appearance of the season on Friday, and after just three pitches, he was done for the night. He worked a 2-1 count to Marlins’ Dee Gordon in the eighth inning, then promptly exited the field after experiencing some tightness in his right knee. Neither Norris nor manager Mike Scioscia believe the injury is cause for major concern, and the 32-year-old right-hander admitted that it may have had something to do with his lack of stretching before he took the mound. For now, he’s day-to-day with right knee soreness, with the hope that the issue doesn’t escalate over the next few days.

While the Angels are lucky to have avoided serious injury, they’ll need Norris to pitch at 100% if they want to stay competitive within the AL West. They currently sit a full nine games behind the league-leading Astros, and haven’t been helping their cause after taking five losses in their last eight games. Friday’s 8-5 finale marked their third consecutive loss of the week.

 

When healthy, Norris has been one of the better arms in the Angels’ bullpen. Through 23 2/3 innings, he’s pitched to a 2.66 ERA, 3.4 BB/9 and an outstanding 11.8 SO/9 in 23 outings. The righty hasn’t allowed a single run in four straight appearances, recording three saves and helping the club clinch four wins in that span. This is his second setback of the year after sustaining a partial fingernail tear on his pitching hand during spring training.

Video: Max Scherzer sets record with 13-strikeout outing

Getty Images
5 Comments

Max Scherzer is a force to be reckoned with. The Nationals’ right-hander delivered a season-high 13 strikeouts against the Padres on Friday, locking down his fifth win and his fourth double-digit strikeout performance of the year.

More remarkably, it was also the 53rd double-digit strikeout performance of Scherzer’s career, tying Clayton Kershaw for the most 10+ strikeout appearances by an active major league pitcher. Chris Sale is a distant third, with 43 to his name, though he’s been making considerable strides to catch up so far this spring.

Scherzer took the Padres to task on Friday night, whiffing 13 of 31 batters during his 108-pitch outing. He started strong, catching Allen Cordoba swinging on a 1-2 count to start the game and keeping the game scoreless until Ryan Schimpf unleashed a home run in the fourth inning. That was the first and final run the Padres managed off of Scherzer, who retired 14 consecutive batters following the blast and came one out shy of a complete game in the ninth inning. (Fittingly, Koda Glover polished off the win with a final strikeout, bringing the total to 14 on the night.)

It’ll take more than one stellar start to advance Scherzer and Kershaw on the all-time list, however. Their 53-game record ranks 13th, about 159 games behind second-place Hall of Fame hurler Randy Johnson and a full 162 games shy of the inimitable Nolan Ryan.