TORONTO -- Toronto Blue Jays designated hitter Frank Thomas was livid Saturday 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 was hitless in his past 13 at-bats and has gone 4-for-35 since homering in three straight games April 5-8.
The 39-year-old 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, who is batting .167 with three homers and 11 RBIs in 60 at-bats, 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. I'm angry, I know I can help this team. My career isn't going to end like this."
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. "I feel for the guy, but right now we need more production."
General manager J.P. Ricciardi denied that Thomas' contract factored into the move.
"I think the decision is the manager's based on what he thinks is best for the team," Ricciardi said. "As a team we're struggling offensively and I just think Gibby is trying to spark our offense a little bit.
Thomas batted .277 for Toronto last season, leading the team with 26 home runs and 95 RBIs.
He eclipsed the 500-homer plateau on June 28 against Minnesota's Carlos Silva.
Thomas has 516 career homers, placing him 18th on baseball's career list. In addition, he has hit 264 career home runs as a designated hitter, the most in baseball history.
With a career average of .302, Thomas is one of four players in baseball history to record at least a .300 average, 500 home runs, 1,500 RBIs, 1,000 runs and 1,500 walks. The others are Mel Ott, Babe Ruth and Ted Williams.