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Thome ailing: Wagner wailing



Published: Fri, July 1, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



Philadelphia's first baseman has pain in his right elbow.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Jim Thome is hurting. Billy Wagner is complaining. And there isn't a whole lot right now to be happy about for the rest of the fading Philadelphia Phillies.

The Phillies placed Thome on the 15-day disabled list Friday with tendinitis in his right elbow, the second time the slumping first baseman is on the DL this season.

Thome was placed on the DL in May with a lower back strain and missed 19 games. This time, he's hopeful he can return to the lineup after the All-Star break.

"I just want to get this thing healed up so we can get back going in the second half," Thome said before Friday's 9-1 loss to Atlanta.

Thome has struggled this season, hitting .207 with seven home runs and 30 RBIs. He has only 14 extra-base hits in 193 at-bats. Thome was a career .284 hitter coming into this season and hit a combined 89 homers in his first two years in Philly.

Persistent pain

Thome said his elbow has been bothering him for about a month, but really started to cause pain after a throw in Thursday's game against the New York Mets. Thome said there was so much pain in his arm Friday morning that he had a hard time lifting it.

"I know throwing affected me more than anything," Thome said. "I didn't say anything for a while just because I didn't want people to know about my throwing issue. It's just gotten worse over time. We need to get this thing better."

Thome refused to blame the injuries for the worst season of his career.

"There were some times where I did swing the bat well, but to say that, I can't answer that," he said. "I know there were times were it affected me on some certain things. To say it's on my slump, no. That's something I've had to deal with on my own."

The Phillies recalled first baseman Ryan Howard from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to replace Thome. Howard was 6-for-28 with one homer and one RBI in an earlier stint with the Phillies. He has put up big numbers in Triple-A, hitting .371 with 16 home runs and 54 RBIs in 210 at-bats.

"We'll let him play and see what he can do," Manuel said.

Missing spark

Maybe Howard can provide the spark that Wagner feels the Phillies need. The lefty closer did not back off his comments to The Philadelphia Inquirer, telling the paper for Friday's edition that the Phillies had "no chance" to make the postseason.

"We ain't got a chance to get there right now," he told the paper.

Not surprisingly, those quotes made Wagner the center of a media storm before the game, but Wagner only reiterated his contention that the Phillies just don't know how to win.

"I think it's the truth," Wagner said. "The way we're playing now, if anybody's fool enough to think we're a playoff team the way we're playing right now, they're crazy. We haven't played well. It doesn't have anything to do with us not working hard or playing hard. We're not getting it done. No, we're not a playoff team right now."

Wagner criticized his teammates for not having enough intensity, saying that when the Phillies get behind "we've quit."

Since a 12-1 homestand put the Phillies just 1 1/2 games out of the NL East lead on June 12, they've lost 11 of 15 going into Friday night's game with the Braves.

"When you're used to losing, it's easy to do that," Wagner said. "When we were 12-1 on that homestand, we didn't have a problem with going out there and being down. We found a way to come back and win games."




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