BALTIMORE (AP) — Slugger Jim Thome is headed to the Baltimore Orioles, whose struggling offense is in dire need of some punch.
Thome was traded from the Philadelphia Phillies on Saturday for two minor leaguers — right-hander Kyle Simon and catcher Gabriel Lino.
The 41-year-old Thome is a five-time All-Star. His 609 homers are tied with Sammy Sosa for seventh place on the career list, and his 1,689 RBIs, over a 22-year career, are 25th all-time.
The Orioles got a good look at Thome earlier this month when he went 6 for 13 with four RBIs in a three-game series at Camden Yards. Injured for much of the season, he also got his first home run and RBI of the year that weekend in Baltimore.
Baltimore will assume the rest of the one-year, $1.25 million contract he signed with Philadelphia in November 2011.
Entering Saturday’s game against Cleveland, the Orioles had scored more than three runs in one of their last 12 games. Although Baltimore has been a surprise contender in the AL East, it has been struggling to produce with runners in scoring position, going 9 for 75 (.120) in that situation over 13 games before Saturday.
In addition, the Orioles were operating without injured designated hitter Nick Johnson and outfielder Nolan Reimold.
“We felt Thome’s presence and our need on the major league team were worth the value we have to give up in a trade,” said Dan Duquette, the Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations. “We like both the young players. They’re both in A ball. We needed some help to bolster our lineup.”
Thome appears to be the perfect fit.
“Jim Thome’s a real pro, and he specializes in hitting home runs and getting on base,” Duquette said. “He’s done that consistently his whole career. Beyond that, he’s a terrific teammate and a steady presence. He’s a veteran, he’s been around the league. He’s been in the pennant race and he’s been in the playoffs. We like all those things that he brings to our team.
“I think he gives us a little bit more depth to our lineup with the injuries we’ve had, the left-handed hitters in our lineup. I think his presence in the lineup will make the opposing pitchers work harder. Because he gets on base and hits home runs and can hit the ball out of any part of this ballpark, we think he’ll be an asset to the team.”
Baltimore will be Thome’s sixth team. He previously played for Cleveland,Minnesota, the Chicago White Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers and Phillies.
In 30 games for the Phillies this season, Thome hit .242 with five home runs and 15 RBIs.
Simon, 21, was 2-8, 3.96 ERA in 14 starts for Class A Frederick.
Lino, 19, hit .218 four homers and 18 RBIs for Class A Delmarva.
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