Jim Thome hasn’t played an inning at first base since 2007, when he started one game for the White Sox, but yesterday the 41-year-old designated hitter played half a game there and managed to avoid any injuries.
He won’t be replacing Ryan Howard, but the Phillies are trying to at least prepare Thome for occasional duty at first base and so far he seems optimistic about his body holding up.
Todd Zolecki of MLB.com reports that Thome will likely put a glove on again tomorrow or Wednesday and he’s been taking plenty of reps at first base in practice.
Last time he started more than a handful of games at first base in a season? Way back in 2005, which also happens to be the final year of his first go-around with the Phillies.
As is offseason tradition, the first of player-shape reports are trickling in. These usually use some variation of the phrase “best shape of [my/his] life.” This one, though, avoids that at least.
According to ESPN’s Jesse Rogers, Cubs outfielder Kyle Schwarber has lost 17-20 pounds so far this offseason. Schwarber said that he’s “already big and strong,” so “might as well try to get more explosive, faster.”
Though Schwarber knocked out 30 home runs this past season, his numbers were otherwise pedestrian. He hit .211/.315/.467 with 59 RBI and 67 runs scored in 486 plate appearances.
There has been some speculation that the Cubs will try to trade Schwarber to an American League team where he can be a DH. He’s a subpar defender, so making him a full-time DH makes a lot of sense. So far, though, the only team that has been linked to Schwarber this offseason has been the Red Sox.