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Article:Big Hurt back in show

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It didn't take Frank Thomas long to find a new gig. The Oakland Athletics agreed to terms with the former Auburn University star this week. They could use him. The Big Hurt was not a happy camper in Toronto, not getting playing time and having a batting average below the Mendoza Line.

Oakland general manager Billy Beane must be a genius, because the club will be on the hook only for about $337,000 - a prorated share of the $390,000 minimum - so this move was a bargain. The club is looking to boost its power numbers, with only nine homers this season as a team, putting the team in 19th place, according to Major League Baseball's website.

Frank needs to start faster than he has been in the past. Granted, he's always been a slow starter. The key for Thomas is to stay healthy.  He signed an incentive-laden one-year deal for $500,000, but earned all $2.6 million of his possible bonuses based on plate appearances and keeping his troublesome left foot healthy.  If that happens and he has a good year, both health and batting wise, the A's could be a threat in the AL West. Los Angeles and Seattle had better look over their shoulders.

A "Big Hurt" is coming. The AL West best take notice.


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