BALTIMORE (AP) — Jim Thome will be unavailable to the Baltimore Orioles at least into September because of a herniated disk.

Thome, 41, has been on the disabled list since Tuesday. He received an epidural Thursday and was told at that time to rest for 30 days before resuming baseball activities, which in his case means swinging a bat because he is being used by the Orioles only as a designated hitter.

He has no target date for his return, but mid-September would appear to be realistic.

“You never really can predict a true timetable,” Thome said. “The doctors told me to make sure that for 30 days I didn’t do any activities as far as baseball stuff, and then after that we’ll reassess it and see where we’re at.”

He acknowledged “the timing is bad.”

If the second-place Orioles are out of contention by the time he’s ready to return, Thome may not be needed. There’s also the possibility that he won’t be able to come back.

“Will it be all of September? I don’t know,” he said. “Again, it’s hard to pinpoint a date, a month, a time and all of that. I know the work that I’ve done in the past hopefully will pay off and we’ll get back as quick as we can.”

Thome had two homers, six RBIs and 10 walks in 18 games since being acquired from Philadelphia on July 1. Since joining Baltimore, he has hit career homers No. 610 and 611 to pass Sammy Sosa for seventh on the career list.
It is uncertain whether he will add to those numbers this season. His status for next season is thus far undecided. Asked if he could envision himself playing next year, Thome replied, “Maybe. Maybe. I don’t want to say yes, no. But you know that this maybe changes my thinking a little bit. Maybe I do want to play a little bit longer.

“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.”

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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