Cherington hopes less medical controversy for Red Sox
Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Roberto Hernandez reaches for the ball during a spring training baseball workout Saturday, Feb. 16, 2013, in Port Charlotte, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Boston Red Sox owner John W. Henry, right, talks to vice president and general manager Ben Cherington as they watch a spring training workout Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013, in Fort Myers, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
FORT MYERS, Fla. – Boston Red Sox General Manager Ben Cherington hopes a reorganized medical staff leads to less controversy about injuries.
Former closer Jonathan Papelbon, who left after the 2011 season, told ESPNBoston.com last weekend that he and several of his former teammates were regularly injected with the legal painkiller Toradol, an anti-inflammatory drug that is not banned by Major League Baseball.
Papelbon singled out Mike Reinold, Boston’s former head physical therapist.
“It’s been really a two-year process of reorganizing the medical staff,” Cherington said yesterday. “If things are going well in that area, we’re not talking about it nearly as much as we have, and you’re not hearing from them. You’re not hearing from the medical staff nearly as much as we have. So that’s our hope going forward, that we’re hearing from the guys in uniform a lot more and the guys in the training room less.”
Twenty-seven Boston players spent time on the disabled list in 34 stints last year, the most by any team since at least 1987, according to STATS LLC.
Reinold was let go by the Red Sox after last season. Dr. Thomas Gill, the Red Sox medical director for seven seasons, departed after 2011 in the reorganization, and Dr. Peter Asnis was promoted to head team orthopedist after being with the club as team physician since 2005.
Boston had considered retaining Reinold as a consultant.
“There’s no current agreement,” Cherington said. “It’s something we had talked about, and we’ll see if it makes sense.”
After a 7-20 finish in September 2011 cost Boston a playoff berth, the Red Sox went 69-93 last year for their most losses since 1965 and finished last in the AL East for the first time since 1992.
Cherington didn’t want to react to sometimes critical comments by Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez, traded by the Red Sox to the Dodgers last summer as part of the deal that also sent Josh Beckett and Nick Punto to Los Angeles.
“Certainly some of those guys have done a lot for the Red Sox over a long period of time,” Cherington said. “And at the time, we said we wish them well. We still wish them well. Again, we’re focused on the guys we have here now and we wish them well other than when we play them this year.”
Boston plays at Dodger Stadium from Aug. 23-25.