For one pitch anyway.
Jim Thome, perhaps appearing in his final game in Cleveland for the Indians, took to his old position for one pitch in the ninth inning Sunday, playing third base for the first time since Sept. 29, 1996.
Thome had entered the game as a pinch-hitter in the eighth. He left to a standing ovation after the one pitch.
It was the first time Thome had appeared anywhere in the field since he played one game at first base for the White Sox in 2007. He was last a regular first baseman in 2005. Thome played 492 games at third base in his first six seasons in the majors, but none sense.
Thome hasn’t announced whether he’ll return for a 22nd big-league season in 2012. He became just the eighth player to reach 600 career homers earlier this year.
Kyle Schwarber broke into the bigs in 2015 with a big bat. After missing almost all of the last season with an injury, he reemerged as a postseason hero, posting a .971 OPS in the World Series. As 2017 began he was supposed to be one of the key parts of a potent Cubs offense.
Then the baseball games actually started and he has hit a mere .171/.295/.378. Indeed, he has the lowest batting average among qualified MLB hitters in 2017. Given that he has very little if any defensive value, he has been a significant drag on the Cubs, who are just a single game over .500.
The Cubs are also putting Jason Heyward on the disabled list, so the outfield is a bit of a mess these days. Lucky for them, they’re only trailing the Brewers by a game and a half.
A surprising move out of Oakland: the Athletics have designated catcher Stephen Vogt for assignment.
Vogt is suffering through a bad season at the plate, hitting .217/.287/.357, so on the basis of pure performance it’s understandable that the A’s may want to part ways with the 32-year-old former All-Star. That said, Vogt is considered to be a leader in the Oakland clubhouse and is one of the last players remaining from the A’s 2013-14 playoff teams.
Catcher Bruce Maxwell has been recalled from Triple-A to take Vogt’s place on the roster. Main catching duties will belong to Josh Phegley.