White Sox lose Thomas to another fracture in foot
BALTIMORE -- Slugger Frank Thomas is likely to miss the rest of the season for the AL Central-leading Chicago White Soxbecause of a fracture in his left foot close to where had surgery last year, his doctor said Friday.
The injury did not appear to be career-ending, Los Angeles-based surgeon Dr. Richard Ferkel said.
The 37-year-old Thomas is batting just .219 with 12 home runs and 26 RBIs in only 105 at-bats after starting the year on the disabled list. The two-time AL MVP has been slowed by ankle problems all season and limited to 34 games.
The White Sox entered Friday night's game at Baltimore with an 11½-game lead in the division. Thomas was not with the team on its road trip.
Thomas was placed on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to July 21 with inflammation in the foot.
"The plan for Frank will be to immobilize him in a cast and follow him with sequential X-rays until the fracture is healed," Ferkel said in a statement. "If the fracture does not heal with conservative treatment, he may require additional surgery in the future."
Thomas broke a bone in his left ankle July 6, 2004, and had surgery last October. He was activated from the disabled list on May 30.
"This is not how the story was supposed to end. Frank was supposed to bounce back from the injury and help get us back into postseason and beyond, come back next year and hit his 500th home run," general manager Kenny Williams said.
"All he wanted to do is stay healthy and help finish what these guys started. This wasn't in the script."
Trainer Herm Schneider said the bone that fractured is not the same one that was repaired last October. He said it's doubtful if Thomas could recover quickly enough should the team make the playoffs.
"It doesn't look good in that respect. It takes an awful long time to heal," Schneider said, adding it would probably take 6-to-8 weeks to heal.
"You're kind of running out of real estate," Schneider said. "To get out of the cast there probably won't be enough time to do that."
Thomas is a career .307 hitter with 448 home runs and 1,465 RBIs.
He is making $8 million this season after exercising an option last offseason. Williams said it was too early to decide if Thomas would return to the White Sox next season. Thomas has another player option in his contract for 2006 -- but if he exercises it, the team has the right to turn it down and pay a $3.5 million buyout.
Thomas missed most of the 2001 season with a torn triceps muscle but bounced back for 28 homers and 92 RBIs the following season.
"If this guy wasn't hurt, there wouldn't be a question we'd be talking about 600-plus home runs, not 450," Williams said.
Thomas came off the disabled list this season and was able to hit with some power, if not consistency, but he struggled mostly with running the bases.
"It's tough for Frank. He battled to get back in the lineup after sitting out for half the year last year and a couple of months this year," teammate Paul Konerko said from Baltimore.
"It's kind of a downer for him. I think we knew last week that he was definitely out for a pretty substantial amount of time. We played the first two months without Frank, so it's not a question of whether we can play without him. We just showed at the beginning of the season that we can. We would like to have him here. He's a force when he's in there."
With Thomas out, Carl Everett will be the team's primary designated hitter, just as he was early in the season while Thomas was rehabbing.
"You feel bad for the guy. I'm quite sure he's never been on a team quite like this. He wanted to be a part of this team and now this has happened. I feel sorry for him," Everett said.
"The guy has put up some great numbers. He was doing a great job while he was here. ... There is a fear factor when he's in your lineup."
Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press
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