Notes: Thome to DH on Saturday

Notes: Thome set to return Saturday

BALTIMORE -- Jim Thome slugged a homer on a humid afternoon in Florida, then hailed a cab to the airport while rounding third.

But there is no truth to the rumor that he's also piloting the plane into the Baltimore-Washington airport. This much is true -- the Phillies plan to activate Thome before Saturday's game against the Orioles, and expect to play him at designated hitter.

Thome has been taking swings at extended Spring Training in Clearwater, Fla., since Wednesday, going 5-for-12. He hit the homer in his final at-bat.

"He said, 'I hit it good,' and felt he was ready to come back," said manager Charlie Manuel.

News that Thome will be on the active roster is a departure from what was reported on Thursday, when it was thought that Thome would remain in Florida through the weekend. Thome told general manager Ed Wade that he was stiff after Thursday's workout, but that he had improved by Friday.

"He felt great [Friday]," said Wade. "If he thinks he's ready to go, we want him back."

Manuel said the logical thing was to DH Thome through the weekend, especially if the weather conditions remain chilly in Baltimore. Manuel also knows that he should be delicate with his slugger and try to work him in slowly.

But Manuel admitted that it might be tough, especially if Thome quickly raises his .203 average.

"I'll check with him every day, but if he gets going, it will be hard for me to sit him," Manuel said. "I'm not that kind of guy. I like to push him."

He then paused, knowing the proper course.

"If I feel it's time to give him a rest, I'll give him a rest. I want him back healthy and playing."

Offerman released: Someone had to go to make room for Kenny Lofton, and it ended up being Jose Offerman.

The veteran was designated for assignment on Friday, ending his short-lived tenure with the Phillies after 33 at-bats and a .182 average. He hit his first career pinch-hit home run on Thursday afternoon in what turned out to be his final at-bat.

"I'm disappointed," Offerman said. "This wasn't what I expected, but that's the way it happened."

Offerman became expendable because Tomas Perez has been playing so well at first base and hitting in Thome's absence. Manuel can also use Chase Utley and Ryan Howard at first base.

Offerman wished he could have gotten more playing time, but that wasn't going to happen.

"Every time I thought I was going to play him, it seemed like something would happen," said Manuel. "I had to get [Placido] Polanco at-bats. Then Tomas started doing some things. There was an opening to play him at first, then we called Howard up. It was hard to find time to put him out there.

"I look at him as doing a better job than people think. That's a hard job. I did it for six years. He helped us win some ballgames. He's a professional hitter and person. I had seen him in the Dodgers organization when he was in the Minor Leagues. That was very tough on me today."

Offerman, 37, isn't interested in going to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, and might not accept a Minor League assignment anywhere. He spent 2003 playing Independent League baseball in Connecticut, and said he wasn't sure he'd want to do that again.

Playing overseas or retirement are also options.

"Let's see what happens," said Offerman. "I hope someone has interest, but at this point, I don't know how much is out there. I haven't thought about it right now. Everything is brand new right now.

"[For now], I'll go back to Philly, pack my stuff, and wait and see."

Still no word: Manuel said he hasn't spoken to reliever Tim Worrell, who is eligible to come off his self-imposed stint on the disabled list on Sunday.

The reliever is dealing with personal issues, and is in contact with Dickie Noles, who assists in these matters.

As he's done for the past two weeks, it's business as usual for Manuel.

"I'm concerned about Tim," Manuel said. "I hope he gets better and he's able to get to where he was before. But I have to find somebody to take his place until he gets back. I get caught up in our team."

Ryan Madson has filled in well in Worrell's stead, and Manuel said the job might stay with Madson when or if Worrell returns.

Philling in: Howard is still a little gimpy with a sore right hamstring. He said he's available for pinch-hitting duty, if necessary. ... Billy Wagner gave an enthusiastic thumbs up to "Star Wars: Episode III -- Revenge of the Sith," which he saw Thursday night with a few teammates. "It did a great job tying a lot of things together, and the special effects were incredible," said Wagner.

Coming up: Vicente Padilla is coming off his strongest outing of the season, six shutout innings against the Reds on May 15. Though he walked six, he showed more confidence in his fastball, which has to be viewed as a good sign.

Padilla will start Saturday night's game at Camden Yards against Baltimore left-hander Erik Bedard.

Ken Mandel is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.