Big Hurt Returns To Oakland

The A's hope Thomas will return to form.

Frank Thomas' time in Oakland went so well the first time around, the two parties figured they might as well try it again. The future Hall of Famer re-signed with the A's on Thursday, giving Oakland a much needed power bat in the middle of their line-up.

The Oakland A's announced on Thursday that they have agreed to terms with DH Frank Thomas. Thomas was released by the Toronto Blue Jays earlier in the week after the Blue Jays indicated that he would be a part-time player for them and Thomas asked for his release.

Thomas re-joins Oakland two years after he led the team to the 2006 American League Championship Series. He hit .270 with 39 homers and 114 RBIs in his one season with Oakland. That off-season, he signed a two-year deal with Toronto worth $18 million.

Thomas hit 26 homeruns for the Blue Jays in 2007 and drove-in 95 runs. For 2008, he is batting .167 with three homers and 11 RBIs. No current A's player has more than two homeruns on the season. For his career, Thomas is a .302 hitter with 516 homeruns and 1,685 RBIs.

To make room for Thomas on the 25-man roster, the A's have moved outfielder Travis Buck to the 15-day disabled list with shin splints. Oakland has also made room for Thomas on the 40-man roster by moving Eric Chavez to the 60-day DL. Chavez was not expected to return to the A's before the end of May.

The A's have now significantly shifted the look of their roster over the past two days. On Wednesday, the A's added speedy outfielder Rajai Davis when they claimed him off of waivers and designated Kirk Saarloos for assignment. Davis is expected to fill a pinch-runner/late-inning defensive replacement role off of the bench for Oakland. He could see significant time in the late innings for the A's given that Jack Cust is likely to see a lot of time in left-field with Thomas on the team, and both Cust and Thomas are prime candidates to be lifted for a pinch-runner in close ballgames.

It isn't clear what affect the Thomas acquisition will have on the future of Mike Sweeney with the A's. Sweeney hit his first homerun of the year last night in Oakland's 3-0 win over Minnesota. However, Sweeney has been hampered by a sore right knee lately. The A's will probably need to make another roster move on Saturday if Justin Duchscherer returns from the DL. Oakland could move Sweeney to the DL or release him then, or they could return Dallas Braden to Triple-A Sacramento.

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