CHICAGO — Rich Thompson waited eight years for the second chance and it finally arrived in the form of a phone call at 10:45 a.m. Wednesday. Ryne Sandberg told him his flight to Florida was at 1:45 p.m. He was going back to the majors.

The Phillies traded Thompson, a fan favorite at triple-A Lehigh Valley, to Tampa Bay for outfielder Kyle Hudson. Thompson was en route Wednesday afternoon to join the Rays, who are playing Boston in St. Petersburg, Fla.

"It's awesome," Thompson said by phone from the Charlotte airport.

Thompson spent 25 days in the majors eight years ago with Kansas City. He batted once and is the only non-pitcher since 1947 to record two outs with his only major-league swing.

Now he has another chance.

The Inquirer profiled Thompson this past Sunday. He spent five years in the Phillies organization and is the IronPigs' franchise leader in games played (468), hits (452) and stolen bases (134). He was hitting .307 with a .788 OPS in 88 at-bats for Lehigh Valley in 2012.

Thompson lives about 30 minutes from Tropicana Field, so he said he packed everything from his apartment in Allentown and set off for the next chapter.

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