Phils nearing decision time on ailing Thome

Phils nearing decision time on ailing Thome

ATLANTA -- It is a question Jim Thome found difficult to answer.

He injured his back Saturday at Citizens Bank Park, and has been unable to play since, including in a 4-2 win over the Braves on Tuesday. Manager Charlie Manuel has been short a man from his bench for three games, and it is unknown how much longer Thome will be unavailable.

At this point, would it benefit Thome to be placed on the 15-day disabled list to let his back heal and get desperately needed at-bats during a rehab stint in the Minor Leagues? Thome is 2-for-18, with 10 strikeouts this season. Manuel has said Thome needs at-bats to be productive offensively.

"This is about our team," Thome said. "It is. It will always be about that. I certainly don't want to put Charlie in an uncomfortable position every night not having a guy ready. I understand that part of the game, too. I think playing a long time, you understand that. But there's also the sense to get back as quick as we can."

Thome said his back is progressing "in a good way."

Said Manuel: "It's a day-to-day thing. We'll see how he feels. Also, the longer he sits there, sometimes I think he needs to go hit. Like when you sit there and you're not playing and not doing anything, and you're not getting at-bats when you are able to, it usually takes you a while to get going. I'll talk to Ruben [Amaro Jr., the Phillies' general manager] more than likely tonight. We'll see."