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 we noted last week, The Chicago Cubs took the unusual step of not waiting until the summer after winning the World Series to make their customary White House visit to meet the president. They did it today, seeing President Obama a few short days before he leaves office.
Despite the fact that Obama is a White Sox fan, he met the Cubs with diplomacy and grace. It’s almost as if he’s been in that business for the past eight years. In return, he was given some gifts by the Cubs: Theo Epstein presented Obama with a No. 44 Cubs jersey, a tile from the center field scoreboard at Wrigley Field, and a lifetime pass to Wrigley as well.
Obama is staying in D.C. after he leaves office this week, hanging around so his daughter can finish high school in the same place she started. Even so, he’s likely going to be back to Chicago a good bit over the rest of his life, so he’ll likely be able to put the free pass to work. Assuming it comes with, like, six companion passes for his Secret Service detail.
The Kansas City Royals have signed starter Danny Duffy to a five-year, $65 million contract extension.
Duffy was arbitration eligible this offseason and would’ve been a free agent next winter if he hadn’t signed the deal. Given his stuff he might’ve made a mint as a free agent, but he’s also been inconsistent at times and any pitcher is an injury away from losing a payday, making this a nice, lucrative bet for the lefty.
Duffy, 28, posted a 3.51 ERA and a 188/42 K/BB ratio across 179.2 innings in 2016.