It remains to be seen how much they’ll use him–or maybe more accurately how much his body will allow him to be used–but Jim Thome is off the disabled list and back on the Orioles’ active roster.
He’s been out since late July with a herniated disk in his neck and played just 18 games for the Orioles prior to being shut down. Combined between Philadelphia and Baltimore this season he’s hit .252 with seven homers and a .797 OPS in 48 games, which would be more than enough production to help an Orioles lineup that has lost Nick Markakis and Wilson Betemit.
He figures to be a part-time designated hitter and bench bat down the stretch and the 42-year-old could be headed back in the playoffs for the 10th time in his Hall of Fame career.
Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports that the Nationals will ask to speak with Astros’ bench coach Alex Cora after the American League Championship Series concludes on Saturday. This comes on the heels of the news that club manager Dusty Baker will not be returning to the team in 2018.
Cora, 42, has some experience in the Nationals’ organization. He played for the Nats during his last big league stint in 2011, batting .224/.287/.276 through 91 games before announcing his retirement in the spring of 2012. Per Cafardo, he was also offered a player development gig with the club, but has not appeared in any kind of official role with them since his days as a major league infielder. While he’s been lauded for his leadership skills and strong clubhouse presence, he hasn’t acquired any managerial experience since his retirement, save for a handful of games with the Astros where he filled in for A.J. Hinch.
Despite the appeal of having a familiar face in the dugout, the Nationals aren’t the only ones eyeing Cora. The Astros’ coach has already interviewed with the Tigers, Mets and Red Sox this month. Boston appears to be the current favorite to land him and according to at least one source, may even announce his hiring in advance of the World Series next Tuesday.