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Thome Heading to Florida for Workout

May 17, 2005

PHILADELPHIA (AP) _ Philadelphia first baseman Jim Thome will head to Florida for two days of extended spring training before a possible activation from the disabled list on Friday.

Thome, on the DL since May 3 with a strained lower back, will play in Clearwater, Fla., on Wednesday and Thursday. Thome hopes to play one game as a designated hitter and another at first.

``I wanted to get a chance to get some at-bats before Friday,″ Thome said before Tuesday’s game against St. Louis. ``The last four or five days have been coming along great.″

Thome, hitting .203 with one homer and 12 RBIs, was bothered by back problems during spring training and left a game against Florida on April 30 with lower back spasms.

``The main thing is just to be healthy,″ Thome said. ``It’s good to be back out there.″

Manager Charlie Manuel said he would use Thome as a designated hitter for this weekend’s three-game series at Baltimore.

``I know he can get going again. It’s just a matter of time,″ Manuel said.

Phillies center fielder Kenny Lofton also is close to making a return to the lineup, possibly as early as Wednesday. Lofton, on the DL with a strained right hamstring, was hitting .373 with a homer, four RBIs and nine runs scored in 51 at-bats.

``When Kenny comes back, more than likely he’s going to play,″ Manuel said.

Also, catcher Mike Lieberthal returned to the starting lineup Tuesday night after missing three games with an injury to his right ring finger.

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