Phillies sign veteran slugger Thome to 1-year deal

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PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Jim Thome wants his second stint in Philadelphia to come with the World Series title he missed the first time around.

Thome agreed to a $1.25 million, one-year contract with the Phillies on Saturday, returning to the franchise for a second time.

The 41-year-old Thome hit .256 with 15 home runs and 50 RBI in a combined 93 games with the Minnesota Twins and Cleveland Indians last season. He batted .350 with runners in scoring position and .424 over his final 11 games of the season.

“Every player sees the way the Phillies have done things,” Thome said. “They’ve set the bar very, very high.”

Thome played for Philadelphia from 2003-05 and has remained close with Phillies manager Charlie Manuel, his hitting coach for several years in Cleveland.

“Everyone knows my relationship with Jimmy,” Manuel said. “But he’s not here because of that. He’s here to contribute to our team in a positive way, both on and off the field.”

Thome hit .260 with 96 home runs and 266 RBIs in his first stint with the Phillies.

“I think the Phillies have set the bar very high in baseball,” Thome said. “This is as good a place in baseball right now to be in.”

Thome has a .277 career average with 604 homers and 1,674 RBIs. He is one of just eight players to hit more than 600 homers.

Thome was once considered the Phillies’ franchise player when he signed as a free agent in the winter of 2002.

With his down-home charm and mammoth homers, Thome was an instant hit in Philadelphia. He led the NL in homers in 2003 with 47 and hit 42 the next season. In the final game at Veterans Stadium in 2003, Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt raised Thome’s hand at home plate in a symbolic passing of the torch.

On June 14, 2004, Thome hit career homer No. 400 in Philadelphia.

Back and elbow injuries limited him to 59 games in 2005, when he slumped to .207 with seven homers and 30 RBIs in 193 at-bats. Ryan Howard’s emergence made it easier to consider moving Thome.

Howard is recovering from surgery on his left Achilles. Thome, expected to add some left-handed pop off the bench, could be called on to play first base. Thome said he’ll be preparing this offseason. Aside from a symbolic appearance at third base for the Indians in his finale at Progressive Field this season, Thome has not played defensively since 2007.

Thome had been taking his career year by year. When Amaro and the Phillies called early in the free agency period, Thome jumped at the reunion.

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