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Thome looking forward to more playing time in Baltimore

The SportsXchange

MIAMI -- Jim Thome is one of the best home run hitters in the history of the game.

He's also one of the nicest.

Thome, a 41-year old five-time All-Star with 609 home runs, was traded to the Baltimore Orioles by the Philadelphia Phillies for two minor leaguers.

"There's a part of me that's happy to go and get a chance to play a little bit," Thome said. "Baltimore is having a nice year and it will be exciting to go over there and try to help those guys win and get some at-bats. I'm excited about that, for sure."

Thome hit .242 with five home runs and 15 RBI in 30 games for the Phillies this season.

"I think the disappointing thing for me is that I wasn't able to play as much first base as I thought," Thome said, "but, with that being said, the guys were great and the organization was great."

Thome was informed of the trade following Saturday's 3-2 loss to the Miami Marlins when manager Charlie Manuel called him into his office.

"It's difficult for me to see him go but at the same time you look at it from the aspect of what he can do (for Baltimore)," Manuel said. "If he sits here on the bench, it's hard for him to keep his timing."

The Phillies will receive right-handed pitcher Kyle Simon and catcher Gabriel Lino.

"It's bittersweet, to be honest," Phillies second baseman Chase Utley said. "Jim's a great teammate and I think we're all sorry to see him go but we're all excited that he'll have the opportunity to get at-bats daily. He can still do a lot of damage."

Thome has been widely-known as one of the "good guys" in baseball in his 22 years with five different teams.

"He's a great guy," Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels said. "He's one of the best guys in baseball and probably one of the most positive influences you could ever have just because he's been around the game. He's going to go to the Hall of Fame; it's not every day you get to play with a Hall of Famer."

Thome's former manager Ozzie Guillen said: "The Orioles just picked up a great baseball player, an unbelievable human being and a great teammate."

Baltimore is in second place of the American League East Division behind the New York Yankees with a 42-35 record.

"I know that those guys (in Baltimore) have been having a pretty solid year so it will be fun to go over there and try to contribute and help them win," Thome said.

Thome's 609 homers are tied with Sammy Sosa for seventh on the all-time list. His 1,689 RBI ranks 25th. He is one of just eight players in major league history with 12 or more seasons with at least 30 homers.

Thome has had success at his new home. He has 18 home runs and 45 RBI in 67 career games at Oriole Park.

Simon, 21, was 2-8 with a 3.96 ERA in 14 starts for Class A Frederick. Lino, 19, was batting .218 with four home runs and 18 RBI in 56 games for Class A Delmarva.

The Orioles designated left-hander Zach Phillips for assignment to make room for Thome on the 40-man roster.
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