SAN DIEGO -- A bench player for the Phillies this season, Jim Thome made his third start at first base in Sunday's 6-1 loss to the Padres at Petco Park.
The 22-year Major League veteran is adjusting to his new role. He went 1-for-3 with a walk and two strikeouts,and also committed a throwing error while trying to get the ball to pitcher Joe Blanton on a grounder in the third inning. The error led to a run.
"I knew my role when I came here. It's just up to me to make that adjustment, too," Thome said. "We have a lot of great players here. We all have to rely on each other. Hopefully, we can do that. Me, personally, I just need to continue to work, come in early, do all the little things that will keep me sharp when I do get in there."
Manager Charlie Manuel said Thome's swing is good, but his timing is off. Thome is batting .125 (2-for-16) with nine strikeouts.
"That's a tough role, and you have to get some at-bats as you go along," Manuel said.
"He just needs to get some at-bats and he's going to be fine."
As for the error -- one of a season-high three miscues the Phillies committed on Sunday -- Thome said he had more time than he thought he had to make the play.
"Those are plays you've got to make," Thome said.
Ruiz returns to action on Sunday
SAN DIEGO -- Catcher Carlos Ruiz returned to the Phillies' lineup for Sunday's series finale against the Padres after missing the last two games because of a sore left wrist.
Jim Thome started at first base, his first start since April 13 and third start of the season. Ty Wigginton started at third base, giving Placido Polanco a day off. Thome was penciled into the No. 5 spot, while Wigginton was batting sixth -- after coming up with an RBI double in Saturday's 5-1 loss to the Padres.
As the Phillies continue to try to ignite their offense, left fielder John Mayberry Jr. was out of the lineup. He's hitting .179 with 12 strikeouts. Juan Pierre started in left field and hit leadoff. He was batting .286 entering play on Sunday.
Ruiz had injured his wrist on Thursday in a collision in the sixth inning when Will Venable was caught trying to steal home. X-rays were negative.
The only Phillie to face Sunday's starter Anthony Bass before was Wigginton, who had drawn two walks and was 0-for- 3 against the right-hander entering play on Sunday. Prior to Sunday's series finale, Bass had a 0.00 ERA in two-thirds of an inning against the Phillies.
Justin De Fratus allowed a hit in a scoreless inning on Sunday in his first rehab appearance with Class A Clearwater. He is on the Phillies' disabled list with a right elbow sprain, retroactive to March 26. He posted on Twitter @ JustinDeFratus: "Another symptom-free outing! I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. #superstoked."
The Philadelphia Flyers' 5-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins in the NHL Eastern Conference playoffs was on in the Phillies' clubhouse before Sunday's game. The Flyers won the opening-round series in six games.
Sarah Trotto is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.