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. Lehigh Valley manager 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 joined the Rays, who played Boston in St. Petersburg, Fla.
"It's awesome," Thompson said by phone from the Charlotte airport.
Thompson, 33, spent 25 days in the majors eight years ago with Kansas City. He batted once and is the only nonpitcher since 1947 to record two outs with his only major-league swing.
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.
Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said the trade was made to provide Thompson an opportunity, but also to acquire a younger player in Hudson, 25. He was hitting .291 at triple-A Durham.
"No disrespect to Rich, but Rich is not a puppy," Amaro said. "Hudson is a guy that our scouts have had some familiarity with. And as far as an athlete is concerned, he's a pretty good one."
Thompson lives about 30 minutes from Tampa Bay's Tropicana Field, so he said he packed everything from his apartment in Allentown and set off for the next chapter.