(670 The Score) When the White Sox parted ways with longtime strength and conditioning coach Allen Thomas after the 2021 season, general manager Rick Hahn explained that the organization was looking at “reimagining” that department.
The move came after the White Sox were perplexed by a string of soft-tissue issues to key players last season. While that may have been an understandable reason to shift course, the change hasn’t seemed to help. The White Sox’s injury woes and soft-tissue ailments have been just as confounding in 2022.
That was evidenced by manager Tony La Russa admitting in late June that around a half-dozen players – including shortstop Tim Anderson, center fielder Luis Robert and first baseman Jose Abreu – were under orders from the training staff to “slow it down” on the basepaths so as to not increase their risk of suffering an injury.
So what’s Thomas think of how it has all played out as he’s an outsider now looking on from afar? Well, just like fans, he’s stumped at the White Sox’s orders for some players to not hustle.
“Ditto,” Thomas said when told by 670 hosts Danny Parkins and Matt Spiegel that they'd never heard of such a directive.
Thomas suggested that part of the White Sox’s troubles with soft-tissue injuries can be traced to the offseason.
“Is it so many hamstrings or is it the same guys?” Thomas said. “So, we’re dealing with repeats. We’re dealing with situations – defending that staff over there currently, the offseason is crucial. We always say the offseason is crucial, then they couldn’t speak to them, couldn’t talk to them, couldn’t delegate anything. So I think that’s a small piece of it.”
Thomas stood by the work he did with the White Sox across two decades, noting that the White Sox were quite healthy in the 17 years he worked alongside former head athletic trainer Herm Schneider, who left his role after the 2018 season.
“For the 17 years that Herm and I were together, we had the fewest amount of injuries in all of pro sports at that time,” Thomas said. “Yes, that is well-documented. Some people laugh and say that the injuries were undocumented, and that’s not true. We did the best we could do with what we had for all those years. The game hasn’t changed. The sport hasn’t changed as far as running to first, playing in the outfield, nine innings, the hours, the games played. So yes, I’m going to stick my chest out on that and 100% say that what we had in our time there … we did very well.”
Thomas was also asked for his response to the White Sox’s idea to reimagine the strength and conditioning department.
“That was never told to me – a reimagination of what it would look like,” he said. “Was I perhaps stale or stagnant to them? Umm, maybe. But I would take my chances with people who have been successful and are really good at what they do. But I could also say that there’s a lot of great coaches that are no longer here that left way before me as well. My thing would be they had every right to turn over another leaf. My contract was up and they had every right to do that. Was I ready to leave? No. Did I have a lot more to accomplish? Yes. But the White Sox had every right to do it what they wanted to do at that point. I’ll leave it at that.”