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MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL White Sox wait for Thomas to recover from ankle surgery



Published: Sat, February 19, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



Other Red Sox join Curt Schilling in criticizing Alex Rodriguez.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

The Big Hurt is still hurt.

Frank Thomas hasn't recovered from ankle surgery and will not report to the Chicago White Sox along with other position players Monday. Head trainer Herm Schneider said Friday that the team has "no real timetable" for Thomas' return.

White Sox general manager Ken Williams had said that the two-time American League MVP was expected to report with the rest of the position players. Pitchers, catchers and a handful of other players reported Wednesday.

"I am disappointed for him," manager Ozzie Guillen said in Tucson, Ariz.

"We want to have him here, but I knew this was going to happen. ... That is why I prepared myself and my team to move on without Frank. When Frank is here, we will take care of him."

Thomas had a bone graft and two screws inserted on Oct. 6 to repair a partial stress fracture of his left ankle, injured while fielding a grounder June 17.

A decision on Thomas' return will be made after he meets with doctors the first week of March.

"Frank's moving along nicely but slowly," Schneider said.

"The problem he has is a slow healing process. He is walking on the treadmill, he is going into the deep end of the pool and doing exercises on a very low level, but he is moving forward."

Red Sox criticize Rodriguez

Boston kept up the attacks on the New York Yankees on Friday, with Bronson Arroyo joining Curt Schilling, Trot Nixon and David Wells in the criticism of Alex Rodriguez. Arroyo said the Yankees third baseman "was out of line" when Arroyo hit him with a pitch on July 24 and his reaction helped spark a brawl.

And catcher Jason Varitek said, "I don't need to boast" about workout habits.

That's what Rodriguez did in an interview last month.

John Henry, owner of the World Series champions, tried to downplay the talk.

"It's just natural," he said in Fort Myers, Fla., during Friday's first official workout for pitchers and catchers.

"The rivalry is the biggest in sports and you're going to have people on both sides saying things, like myself, like I'm prone to do. I'll try to avoid that today."

Henry said the Red Sox may give players their World Series rings at a separate ceremony rather than before their home opener April 11 against the New York Yankees.

"I personally don't think it's necessary to hand out the rings on opening day or opening night. I can't remember ever seeing it done," he said.

"It's more an issue of when are the rings going to be ready."

Big Unit cleans up

In Tampa, Fla., Randy Johnson was sitting at his locker after Friday's workout, talking to reporters, when The Boss walked into the clubhouse and met the Big Unit for the first time since adding him to his pinstriped collection of All-Stars.

"Hi, big man," George Steinbrenner said.

"How you doing, Mr. Steinbrenner?" Johnson responded.

"Glad you're here. Glad you're cleaned up, and glad you're here," Steinbrenner said.

Johnson was puzzled.

"I haven't cleaned up. I haven't even taken a shower yet," he said.

"I know," Steinbrenner, "but I mean --"

Then, the Big Unit realized The Boss meant that Johnson had trimmed most of his facial hair to conform to Steinbrenner's rules.

A few minutes earlier, New York manager Joe Torre pretty much said Johnson will start the season opener against Boston on April 3 at Yankee Stadium, a game that possibly will match the Big Unit against former Arizona teammate Schilling.

"It's not a bad guess," Torre said. "And the reason that I'm not officially saying that is because when we do tell you that, I really want to be in a position to tell the guy who is pitching two, three, four and five at the same time."




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