J.J. Hardy is the one Orioles player who has been on the same team with Jim Thome. They played together with Minnesota in 2010 and Hardy said Thome will bring a lot to the Orioles on the field and in the clubhouse.
"You guys will all see. He's probably one of the best guys to ever play the game personality-wise. A leader, just a great guy," Hardy said.
Hardy said Thome called him yesterday to ask about his new team.
"We're pretty close," Hardy said. "I know he's excited and so am I. He's excited to play again every day. He talked about how he really feels this team can win.
"Just his bat in the lineup and his presence (will help us). There are a lot of people that can learn from him, including myself. Everyone in this lockerroom can learn from him.
"I've told the guys, the way he goes about his business, he'll probably be the first guy in the clubhouse. He's moving the whole time he's here, doing exercises to stay loose. During the game he'll have his at-bats and go do his exercies between at-bats."
Hardy gives Thome high marks as a leader.
"He speaks words of wisdom. You know he's been there so everything he says, everyone listens. He's that superstar that acts like everyone else. He's friends with everyone. If you're going bad he is someone that will talk to you to help get you out of it. He's the perfect teammate," Hardy said.