Jim Thome is no longer able to play first base, so now that interleague play is over, he’s limited to pinch-hitting duties. The future Hall of Famer hasn’t fared too well in that role to date, going just 1-for-16 with one homer and 11 strikeouts, so the Phillies are now open to setting him free.
Jayson Stark of ESPN.com was told by American League clubs that the Phillies have made Thome available for trade to clubs that need a designated hitter. The veteran slugger would prefer to play for the White Sox or Twins, but there’s not a clear fit with either club right now.
While Thome served a lengthy stint on the disabled list this season due to a back injury, he recently showcased what he could do if given regular at-bats out of the DH spot by hitting .333 (12-for-36) with four homers, two doubles and 14 RBI over nine games during interleague play.
Thome is only making a modest $1.25 million this season, so he’d be a worthwhile gamble for a contender. The 41-year-old is currently tied with Sammy Sosa for seventh all-time with 609 career home runs.
Despite the earlier rain, the All-Star Game got underway on time and following the usual pregame festivities Max Scherzer took the hill to face the American League.
Scherzer did great in the first inning, striking out Mookie Betts and Jose Altuve and then, following a walk to Mike Trout and giving up a single to J.D. Matinez, retired Jose Ramirez on a weak popup. Scherzer was cooing with gas: the reigning Cy Young winner had not thrown a pitch as fast as 98 m.p.h. all season, but he threw three of those during his scoreless first.
Chris Sale‘s work in the bottom half was more about nasty stuff than mere heat. Following a leadoff single allowed to Javier Baez he got Nolan Arenado to fly out to left, struck out Paul Goldschmidt on a nasty slider and then got Freddie Freeman out via a fly to left.
Aaron Judge led off the second. The same Aaron Judge someone wrote today could be trade bait if the Yankees felt so inclined. Which, um, OK, that was dumb anyway, but it looked even dumber when Judge muscled Scherzer’s second pitch — a letter-high fastball — out to left field with many, many feet to spare for a homer.
Scherzer got the rest of the A.L. side, but the damage had been done. The American League leads 1-0 after an inning and a half.