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Phillies manager Charlie Manuel hopes to play Jim Thome at least once a week. (David M Waren/Staff file photo)

PITTSBURGH — There was only one change to Manuel's Saturday lineup from opening day; Laynce Nix started at first base. The manager said he wanted another lefthanded bat, but opted for Nix over Jim Thome.

Manuel hopes to play Thome at least once a week. It's possible his first start comes Monday in the home opener, but Manuel said Thome could start Sunday.

Restraint, of course, is required with the 41-year-old's bad back in relation to his workload at first base, a position he hasn't played since 2007.

"I think about him every day," Manuel said. "I'll play Thome when I want to."

Manuel praised Nix's work at first base. Nix made his seventh career start at the position Saturday. When asked who his best defender there is, Manuel dodged the query.

"Not at the moment," he said. "I don't want to say it."

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