The good news for the Phillies is that they get a future Hall of Famer back from the disabled list today. The bad news is that it’s Jim Thome, who didn’t have much of a role before being shut down with a back injury in late April.
Thome got a total of just 21 plate appearances in the Phillies’ first 21 games, making four starts at first base and otherwise appearing only as a pinch-hitter.
Those four games were his first starts anywhere other than designated hitter since 2007, so don’t expect Thome to see a whole lot more action this time around. Phillies first basemen–mostly Ty Wigginton, John Mayberry, and Laynce Nix–have been right in the middle of the pack in terms of combined production, hitting .268 with seven homers and a .751 OPS that ranks 13th among MLB teams.
Matt Spiegel of 670 The Score Chicago heard from a source that Major League Baseball executives have been discussing a 100-game season that would begin on July 1 and conclude on October 15. It would essentially pick up the second half schedule, eliminating the All-Star Game while hosting the World Series at a neutral warm-weather stadium — ideally Dodger Stadium.
In the event the Dodgers, who won 106 games last year, made it all the way through the playoffs, the World Series would be hosted in Anaheim or San Diego. The earlier rounds of the playoffs would be played in the cities of the teams involved, which might be tough since the postseason would extend into November.
Spiegel went on to describe this vision as “an absolute best case scenario,” and that’s accurate. In order for the regular season to begin on July 1, the players would need to have several weeks if not a full month prior to get back into playing shape — more or less an abbreviated second spring training. And that would mean the U.S. having made significant progress against the virus by way of herd immunity or a vaccine, which would allow for nonessential businesses to resume operations. The U.S., sadly, is faring not so well compared to other nations around the world for a variety of reasons, but all of which point to a return to normalcy by the summer seeming rather unlikely.
Regardless, the league does have to plan for the potential of being able to start the regular season this summer just in case things really do break right and offer that opportunity. Commissioner Rob Manfred has stated multiple times about the league’s need to be creative, referring to ideas like playing deep into the fall, changing up the location of games, playing without fans in attendance, etc. This rumor certainly fits the “creative” mold.