Jim Thome is “ahead of schedule” and nearing rehab stint

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Two weeks ago Jim Thome was worried that a herniated disk in his neck might knock him out for the rest of the season, but now the future Hall of Famer is scheduled to begin rehabbing at the Orioles’ spring training complex tomorrow.

Doctors initially told Thome to rest for at least 30 days, which would have ruled out a return before September, but Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reports that the 41-year-old designated hitter is “ahead of schedule” and could be cleared to begin a minor-league rehab assignment before the end of the month.

Manager Buck Showalter seems cautiously optimistic that the Orioles will get Thome’s bat back in the lineup for the stretch run after he hit .261 with two homers and a .746 OPS in 18 games following a June 30 trade from Philadelphia.

MLB has more evidence against Addison Russell than just his ex-wife’s blog post

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Major League Baseball put Cubs shortstop Addison Russell on administrative leave pursuant to its domestic violence policy the other day. The thought at the time was that the move was made solely because Russell’s ex-wife, Melisa Reidy, had written a blog post reiterating past claims of domestic violence. As Ken Rosenthal reports, however, that’s not all they had:

The post alone would not have been enough for baseball to force Russell off the field under its joint domestic violence policy with the players’ union. The league had additional credible information, according to sources familiar with its investigation.

The league’s investigation includes interviews with Reidy and numerous other witnesses, and with officials gathering additional information since Russell went on leave, sources said.

Reidy’s allegations alone, once assessed by MLB, would likely be enough to warrant Russell a suspension. That there is more out there would seem to make the case against him even stronger. The upshot: I think it’s extraordinarily unlikely that Russell will be back with the Cubs this year.