al notebook

Blue Jays' Thomas Angered by Benching

Blue Jays slugger Frank Thomas is headed to the bench.
Blue Jays slugger Frank Thomas is headed to the bench. (Adrian Wyld - AP/The Canadian Press)
Sunday, April 20, 2008

Blue Jays DH Frank Thomas was livid yesterday after getting benched in favor of Matt Stairs and being told by Manager John Gibbons he can expect further cuts to his playing time.

Thomas did not shake hands with his teammates following Toronto's 3-2 victory over the Tigers and left the clubhouse without speaking to reporters.

"I'm angry. I know I can help this team. My career isn't going to end like this," he said before the game.

Thomas, 39, is hitless in his past 13 at-bats and has gone 4 for 35 since homering in three straight games April 5-8. He has 516 home runs, putting him 18th on baseball's career list.

Thomas signed a two-year, $18 million contract with Toronto in November 2006. The deal includes a $10 million option for 2009, but only if Thomas makes 376 plate appearances this season.

Thomas is batting .167 with three homers and 11 RBI in 60 at-bats. He said the Blue Jays are cutting his playing time to prevent the option from kicking in.

"It's pretty obvious," Thomas said. "Sixty at-bats isn't enough to make that decision.

Gibbons would not specify how frequently he planned to use Thomas.

"I'm going to put the team out there that gives us the best chance to win," Gibbons said.

· SUSPENDED: Yankees reliever Kyle Farnsworth was suspended for three games and fined for throwing a fastball behind the neck of Boston slugger Manny Ramírez earlier in the week.

Farnsworth appealed the penalty, which was to start last night against the Orioles. He will be eligible to pitch until a hearing is held.

CONTINUED     1        >

© 2008 The Washington Post Company