PHILADELPHIA – The Phillies and the White Sox on Friday completed their deal that sends slugger Jim Thome to Chicago for center fielder Aaron Rowand.

The trade was announced on Wednesday, but wasn’t official until the players passed their physicals. Philadelphia also gets minor league left-hander Daniel Haigwood and a player to be named later.

The Phillies are giving the White Sox $22 million as part of the deal, a baseball official told The Associated Press, speaking on condition of anonymity because the teams did not make that information public.

It’s the first major move for the White Sox since winning their first World Series championship in 88 years last month. The injury-plagued Thome fills Chicago’s need for a left-handed power threat. He could DH or play first base if free agent Paul Konerko doesn’t re-sign. Konerko, the AL championship series MVP, is not expected to choose a team before the winter meetings, which begin Dec. 5 in Dallas.

“This was something we had to do to give us a little protection in the event Paulie doesn’t come back, but it also gives ourselves a chance to have one of the better middle parts of the lineup around,” Chicago general manager Ken Williams said Friday.

“It was just an effort to simply get better.”

Thome’s departure clears the path for NL Rookie of the Year Ryan Howard in Philadelphia. Howard batted .288 with 22 homers and 63 RBIs in 88 games after Thome went down with an elbow injury.

Rowand batted .270 with 13 homers and 69 RBIs for the White Sox last season. In the postseason, he hit .400 in the division series, .167 in the ALCS and .294 in the World Series. Rowand established himself as a starter in 2004, when he hit .310 with 24 homers.

The gritty Rowand is an outstanding defensive player and fills the Phillies’ need for a center fielder.

The team wasn’t going to re-sign Kenny Lofton, who batted .335 while platooning with Jason Michaels last year.

“I’ve watched him play and he really gets after it,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said of Rowand. “He’s a hard-nosed player. I like the way he plays. He’s a good center fielder and has some pop. He’s my kind of player.”

Thome was one of the AL’s top sluggers with the Cleveland Indians, before joining the Phillies after the 2002 season. A native of Peoria, Ill., he talked with the Chicago Cubs before signing an $85 million, six-year contract with Philadelphia.

Thome hit a total of 89 home runs in his first two seasons with the Phillies before back and elbow injuries limited him to 59 games this year, when he slumped to .207 with seven homers and 30 RBIs in 193 at-bats.

The 35-year-old has 430 career homers, but is coming off surgery on his right elbow in August.

He is owed $43.5 million over the final three seasons of his $85 million, six-year contract. The deal also calls for the final $2.5 million of his $10 million signing bonus to be paid next year, normally the responsibility of the original club.

Mets GM won’t rule out deal for Ramirez

NEW YORK – Now that they have Carlos Delgado, the New York Mets are turning their attention to Bengie Molina and Ramon Hernandez.

General manager Omar Minaya said Friday the team had made offers to the pair of free-agent catchers. He also refused to rule out trying to acquire Manny Ramirez from Boston, although he wouldn’t go into specifics.

“We will have conversations sometime this week, hopefully not this weekend,” Minaya said during a telephone conference call. “It’s been two Thanksgivings now that I’ve been working every day.”

Dodgers get permission to speak with McLaren

LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Dodgers have received permission to interview Tampa Bay Devil Rays bench coach John McLaren for their vacant managerial job.

Dodgers spokesman Josh Rawitch said Friday he didn’t know when McLaren would meet with new general manager Ned Colletti. Rawitch also said Colletti planned to request permission to interview at least one other potential candidate who is under contract with another team.

McLaren was a finalist for the Devil Rays managerial job, losing out to former Los Angeles Angels bench coach Joe Maddon earlier this month.

The Tampa Bay job became vacant when the team agreed to buy out the final season of Lou Piniella’s contract. McLaren spent the last 13 seasons as part of Piniella’s coaching staffs in Seattle and Tampa Bay.

The only other known candidate for the Dodgers’ job is former major league manager Jim Fregosi. Colletti met with Fregosi for about three hours in Tampa last weekend.

The Dodgers got permission to speak with Angels pitching coach Bud Black earlier this week, but Black decided to remain in his current position.

The Dodgers have been without a manager since parting ways with Jim Tracy on Oct. 3 – the day after the season ended. Los Angeles was 71-91 one year after winning the NL West with a 93-69 mark.

Hart agrees to stay on with Rangers

DALLAS – John Hart has agreed to stay with the Texas Rangers as a consultant through 2013 and give up the opportunity to interview for general manager positions with other teams.

Rangers owner Tom Hicks announced the three-year extension this week. It adds to a five-year contract that the 57-year-old Hart signed with the club in October after stepping down as general manager to become senior adviser of baseball operations. Hicks offered the extended contract after the Los Angeles Dodgers pursued Hart for the team’s vacant general manager position. Hicks said he received another inquiry about Hart this week.

“I told John This will continue to happen. Let’s decide what you want to do for the rest of your career and I will support that,”‘ Hicks said. “John slept on it and said he wanted to finish his career as a Ranger and in the organization. I am very happy about that.”

Guillen should begin swinging in three months

WASHINGTON – Washington Nationals outfielder Jose Guillen should begin rehabilitating his left shoulder in a week and is expected to be ready for the regular season.

Guillen should be able to start swinging a bat in about three months, Nationals spokesman John Dever said Friday.

Guillen had surgery Monday.

He hurt the shoulder on a headfirst slide in June but never went on the disabled list.


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