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

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

"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

Thomas is a career .307 hitter with 448 home runs and 1,465

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

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