Thome, out since July 27 with a herniated disk in his neck, will start swinging off a tee and in the cages this week.
"He's feeling good. He talked to the doctor and he is a little ahead of schedule. We'll see how the next couple days go," Showalter said. "Let's take it day to day, I don't want him to think about going to Aberdeen or Frederick. If we did it, it would be at a high level."
Showalter's news was a bit of a surprise, since the veteran slugger was supposed to out at least 30 days and not play until September. Now Thome could go on a rehab assignment next week with one of the Orioles' higher affiliates.
"That was as much to slow him down," Showalter said. "He still has got some bulging disk there, but the inflammation has calmed down, so he is going to go down [to Sarasota], and in the next three or four days, if he doesn't have any problems, I'm going to feel pretty confident about getting him back."