Thomas suggests Sox can trade him

CHICAGO, July 8 (UPI) -- Veteran slugger Frank Thomas, who showed up late for a game on Sunday, says he will waive the no-trade clause in his contract if need be.

Thomas, who has been in a prolonged slump, was benched for a third straight day by Manager Jerry Manuel. His average at the All-Star break is only .239.


"If they don't want me here, sure, I'd do it," Thomas said after Sunday's 9-3 loss to Cleveland ended the first half on a down note. "I don't want to be somewhere I'm not wanted."

Thomas, who was rested for the last two games by Manuel after going 0-for-16 with nine strikeouts over his previous four games, was late for a team meeting at the ballpark and benched by Manuel for the transgression.

Afterwards, Thomas was incensed.

"It's absolute crap, that someone thinks that I went AWOL," Thomas said. "I wasn't that late at all, and it's not a big issue. What do I need to talk to Jerry for? He has no reason to keep holding me out of the lineup. I'm not happy that he kept me out of the lineup the last three games. He could've approached me and said, 'I'm going to sit you the next three games,' but he didn't do that. I'm not looking to cause any trouble. I know I've been struggling and I need to make some adjustments."


When apprised of Thomas' comments, Manuel attempted to make peace with the slugger.

"If Frank is ready to talk, I'm ready to talk. There will be a time when we'll need to talk and that time will be very soon," Manuel said.

"It's easy to say stuff and not prove it," said Jose Valentin said of Thomas' complaints about his benching. "In baseball, you're always going to get a chance. But you better keep your mouth shut until you can go out and prove it."

His recent attitude, which includes showing up late for games, not joining the post-game handshake after game, not taking part in the pregame stretching exercises and the like, speaks volumes, and has not endeared him to teammates.

"He knows we're behind him," said All-Star Paul Kornerko. "But it's tough if he kind of secludes himself from the team. He's not out there for stretching. He's not in here [in the clubhouse] when we're in here. That's not really a knock against him. It kind of is, maybe, but that's just common sense. You can't say anything to someone if he's not around."

The White Sox don't need this controversy swirling around them. They were one of baseball's biggest disappointments in the first half, going 42-46. They are in second place in the AL Central, but trail the frontrunning Minnesota Twins by 7 1/2 games.


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