The Philadelphia Phillies hope to have Jim Thome and Kenny Lofton back in the lineup this weekend as they begin interleague play with a three-game series against the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards.
The Phillies head into the weekend four games under .500 despite Bobby Abreu’s strong hitting.
Abreu leads Philadelphia with a .338 batting average, 12 home and 33 RBIs. He has also shown off his speed on the basepaths with a team-high 12 stolen bases and 30 runs scored.
The outfielder has done all this with Thome on the disabled list since May 3 because of a strained lower back.
Thome had two hits in an extended spring training game Thursday, but the Phillies said the slugger will remain in Florida instead of being activated on Friday. He could be activated during the weekend.
“It’s coming along good,” Thome said. “Coming down here and playing has been a good thing for me. It has been good to get back in the action.”
Thome was hitting .203 with one home run and 27 strikeouts in 79 at bats before his back trouble sidelined him. Thome hit 42 home runs in 2004 and 47 in 2003 for Philadelphia.
Lofton is expected to be activated on Friday. He’s also been sidelined since May 3 with a hamstring injury.
The Phillies, who went 9-9 against the AL last season, enter interleague play after a 7-4 win over the St. Louis Cardinals on Thursday.
Baltimore is coming off a 7-4 loss to the lowly Kansas City Royals on Thursday.
The Orioles still have the AL’s best road record at 13-5 after finishing a seven-game road trip to Chicago and Kansas City 4-3. Baltimore is 13-9 at Camden Yards.
The Orioles hope to fare better against the NL after struggling to a 5-13 mark in interleague play last season.