The A's have fired head athletic trainer Steve Sayles on the heels of another season that was sabotaged by injuries. The team made no announcement Tuesday, but Sayles confirmed his dismissal via a text message to the Bay Area News Group, declining to discuss the situation further.
A's general manager Billy Beane didn't return phone messages, and manager Bob Geren declined to comment when contacted.
The A's used the disabled list 23 times in 2010, the second-highest total in Oakland history after the 25 in 2008. But the injury problems began to mount in 2007. Since the start of that season, the A's have used the DL 87 times, second-most in the major leagues.
The A's made a concerted effort to improve their health after the 2007 season. They promoted Sayles to replace Larry Davis as head trainer (Davis moved into a job as coordinator of medical services). They also required players to report for occasional offseason checkups.
The problems have persisted, but the A's deserve some blame for targeting injury-prone players.
Right-hander Ben Sheets and center fielder Coco Crisp were signed as free agents last winter although both were coming off major surgery in 2009. Sheets' 2010 season ended in July with a right elbow injury, and Crisp missed most of the first half with a fractured pinkie finger and strained rib cage.
Right-hander Justin Duchscherer was re-signed despite injury struggles in previous seasons, and he lasted just five starts before a hip injury ended his year. The A's acquired outfielder Conor Jackson from Arizona in June despite him battling a strained right hamstring earlier in the season. He missed 78 games with Oakland because of that hamstring and a sports hernia.