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RichH55
02-25-2002, 03:28 PM
Thomas impresses Manuel

February 25, 2002

BY DOUG PADILLA STAFF REPORTER







TUCSON, Ariz.--White Sox manager Jerry Manuel liked what he saw from Frank Thomas on Sunday and is surprised his designated hitter is in such good health.

Thomas, who missed all but 20 games last season with a torn right triceps, has started to regain his timing at the plate.

"He says he feels good and he isn't sore,'' Manuel said. "Well, he's a little sore, but it's nothing major. He felt it wouldn't take long to get back.''

Thomas faced live pitching for the first time Thursday, going up against left-hander Onan Masaoka. Of the few pitches he did swing at, Thomas didn't hit the ball hard. Now, Thomas is back to driving the ball.

"That first day, the pitches look 900 mph until you get your timing down,'' said Manuel, who returned to camp midway through Sunday's workout after attending the wedding of his niece Saturday in Atlanta.

GANG'S ALL HERE: Pitcher Arnaldo Munoz, outfielder Julio Ramirez and catcher Humberto Quintero--late to spring training because of visa problems--reported to camp this weekend, giving the Sox their full complement of 54 players.

General manager Ken Williams said the delay had nothing to do with inaccurately reported ages, a problem that has cropped up with some Latin players now that the visa process requires a birth certificate.

Players such as the Kansas City Royals' Neifi Perez and the Atlanta Braves' Rafael Furcal have turned out to be older than originally believed.

Munoz, who is the youngest player in Sox camp at 19, arrived Saturday, but the airline lost his luggage. He had to borrow shoes from a teammate to participate in his first workout.

PLAY BALL: The Sox will start playing intrasquad games Tuesday. Manuel hopes to get every position player at least one at-bat leading up to the exhibition opener Friday against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

"Mostly, it's for the pitchers,'' Manuel said. "But we'll give Frank a few at-bats.''

LOOKING GOOD: Manuel said there are a few pitchers that already have exceeded his expectations this spring, but he was hesitant to name them.

"I want to stay quiet on that,'' he said. "I don't want to put pressure on anybody right now.''

WUNSCH UPDATE: Left-handed reliever Kelly Wunsch, who suffered a moderate hamstring strain Wednesday, is scheduled to resume throwing Tuesday.