Big Hurt set to hit in A's minor-league game

PHOENIX -- Oakland slugger Frank Thomas is scheduled to hit in an A's minor-league game on Saturday.

Thomas will face live pitching for the first time since last July, when doctors found a second broken bone in his left ankle.

Thomas, who signed with the A's as a free agent in January after spending the last 16 seasons with the Chicago White Sox, has been taking batting practice, participating in infield drills and doing some light jogging.

"I'll finally get some real work in," Thomas said on Friday. "It will be great to see live pitching for a change."

Thomas will get at least five at-bats and his baserunning will be limited to jogging down to first.

"I'm real pleased with how he's moving around," said A's manager Ken Macha, who hopes to have Thomas in his Opening Day lineup on April 3 when the A's play the New York Yankees in Oakland. "He continues to feel good and he's not limping."

Thomas has 448 career home runs, including 12 in 105 at-bats for the World Champion White Sox last year.