Thome could be back within a week

Orioles designated hitter Jim Thome, who has been on the disabled list since July 31 with a herniated disk in his neck, took five to six at-bats in a simulated game in Sarasota, Fla., on Monday and experienced no pain, setting the stage for him to possibly come back within a week, according to manager Buck Showalter.

Thome, 42, will participate in a simulated game again on Tuesday and will hit in an instructional league game on Wednesday. If all goes well, he could join the Orioles in Boston for the series that starts Friday or in Baltimore for Monday's doubleheader.

"I'm going to lean on what he's got to say with some clear eyes," Showalter said. "Jimmy, we'd love to get him back, especially with Wilson [Betemit] out, but you won't see him before Thursday, that's for sure. We'll see how we are through the off day."

Showalter said Thome swung and missed during Monday's session and felt no pain. That was "good news and bad news" joked Showalter, who never likes to hear about his hitters missing pitches.