Phillies first baseman Jim Thome was cleared to start hitting Monday, less than three weeks after breaking the middle finger on his right hand.
Thome was examined by a hand specialist in Philadelphia, and was returning to spring training on Monday.He injured his throwing hand during fielding
drills on March 5, and initially was concerned he might need pins inserted into the finger, which would have sidelined him up to two months.Thome will
wear a special splint on his finger for two weeks and his activity will be limited.Thome tied for the major-league lead with 47 home runs and had 131
RBI last season, his first with the Phillies after signing an $85 million, six-year contract.
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