Jim Thome on the verge of rejoining Orioles

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Jim Thome continues to make progress in his recovery from a herniated disk in his neck and could be back in the Orioles’ lineup within a week, according to manager Buck Showalter.

Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reports that Thome took a handful of at-bats in a simulated game yesterday “and experienced no pain.” He’ll take more at-bats in simulated and instructional league games today and tomorrow, at which point the 40-year-old designated hitter could be cleared to return.

At the very least Thome would give the Orioles a nice late-inning option off the bench, but with Nick Markakis and Wilson Betemit both injured Showalter could also turn to him as the regular DH to add some left-handed pop to the lineup.