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Jim Thome will be out for at least another month

Designated hitter Jim Thome said after he received an epidural shot for a herniated disk in his neck Thursday, doctors told him he would need to rest for 30 days before beginning baseball activities again.

He has no exact timetable when he will return to the Orioles, but Thome is still shooting to be back sometime in September. The first of the month, however, looks unattainable.

“With injuries I don't try to put a date because that can always change for the plus and minus sides. Unfortunately we're dealing with this,” said Thome, who originally thought he was dealing with neck spasms until a MRI revealed a fresh herniation. “We'll get it over as quick as we can and move on but be positive and do the best we can to get back as quick as we can.”

He hasn’t yet decided whether he’ll be rehabbing at home in Illinois or in Sarasota at the Orioles complex. He said he’ll continue to work on his persistent lower back problems and hopes to be ready to go shortly after getting the go-ahead from doctors at some point in September.

The 41-year-old, who is seventh on the all-time home run list, has not announced whether he wants to play again next year, but hinted today that he doesn’t want to go out hurt.

“I don’t want to say yes, no. But you know what? This maybe changes my thinking a little bit. Maybe I do want to play a little bit longer,” he said. “Again, I am trying to get back. I am not worried about next year. I think I’m trying to focus on this year, try to do the best to get back as quick as I can and to help us maybe accomplish and reach some special things here toward the end of September, through October. We’ll come to that once that time frame hits.”

Thome has batted .261 with a .354 on-base percentage and two homers and six RBIs in 18 games for the Orioles after being acquired for two minor leaguers from the Philadelphia Phillies on June 30.

“It looks very optimistic that he’ll be able to play for us for September if it continues to be managed like it is," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "He’s going to see the two specialists here. … He is going to make up his mind whether he is going to stay with us, go home or go to Sarasota [to rehab].”

Some other Orioles news: Stu Pomeranz (back) had a left leg issue and did not throw his half-mound session in Sarasota. He’ll see a doctor again because the leg issue is believed to be related to his back discomfort.

Showalter said it is a “long shot” that Nick Johnson (wrist) will be back to play in September.

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
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