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Thomas' release talk of Sox' clubhouse
By Scot Gregor | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 4/21/2008 12:12 AM

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Frank Thomas is the best hitter in White Sox history and one of the best ever in major-league baseball.

On Sunday, though, the "Big Hurt" found himself in the unemployment line.

After batting .167 with 3 home runs and 11 RBI in 16 games for the Toronto Blue Jays, the 39-year-old designated hitter was released.

News traveled quickly Sunday morning to the Sox' clubhouse at Tropicana Field.

"That's hard to believe," starting pitcher Mark Buehrle said.

"It's a shame when things finish like that, especially when you had a good year last year and a couple good years out there and it didn't work out for him," said manager Ozzie Guillen, who was Thomas' teammate with the White Sox from 1990-97. "But this is part of the game. This game is so crazy, you never know what's going to happen.

"It's happened to a lot of people in this game. It's unfortunate it happened early in the season, and being released isn't the best way to -- I don't say finish his career because he can play with somebody else -- but it's not the nicest way to do it. He's had a nice career, really nice career. He's going to be in the Hall of Fame."

Thomas, who hit his 500th career home run last season, joins two other sluggers still looking for work -- Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa.

The Minnesota Twins, Oakland Athletics and possibly Tampa Bay Rays might be interested in signing Thomas.

Shake off the rust: Brian Anderson made just his second start of the season Sunday, and after going 0-for-4 (3 strikeouts), the center fielder's batting average dipped to .143.

Being behind Nick Swisher and Alexei Ramirez has severely limited Anderson's playing time, but he would much rather wait his turn in the major leagues than be a regular at Class AAA Charlotte.

"Anyone who tells you that they'd rather be at Triple-A because they'd get to play every day, they are clearly lying," Anderson said. "Obviously, I'd like to play every day but, hey, you know? Walk (hitting coach Greg Walker) always gives me a hard time. He says, 'You can be in (hitting) Group 1 in Charlotte or Group 4 up here."

Anderson doesn't figure to get a regular shift with the Sox anytime soon, but the 26-year-old outfielder is keeping a positive attitude.

"This is where I want to be," Anderson said. "The ultimate goal is to be starting and be a successful, everyday player. But for right now this is what I have to do to get there and this is what I'm going to do."

Moving up: Jim Thome's 406-foot solo home run in the first inning Sunday was the 512th of his career. The White Sox' DH moved past Mel Ott on the all-time list and is tied with Ernie Banks and Eddie Matthews for 19th place.

"When you tie a guy like Mel Ott and now Ernie Banks, there's a lot of respect for those guys and what they've done for the game," Thome said. "To be a part of that is special. It's very humbling to have those names mentioned because of the great players they were."

Let it go: The White Sox failed to get outs in rundowns Friday and Saturday, but Ozzie Guillen isn't ordering any extra practice.

"We practice a lot," Guillen said. "I expect them to do them good. Rundowns, it's one of the plays I hate to do in spring training, because the rundown can get a lot of people hurt.

"You can get hit by the ball in the face, or somebody (hurts) his knee or hamstring. It's something we don't have to address, at least not right now."