There’s stuff in here about the injectable advil brouhaha, but the real story here is the dysfunction and incompetence.
Allegations that a former Boston Red Sox athletic trainer was illicitly injecting players with the legal pain-killer Toradol appear to be just the latest indicator of what one team source described as “open warfare” between various factions of the team’s previous medical staff.
The friction that existed for years between former medical director Dr. Thomas Gill and trainer Mike Reinold spilled over into the clubhouse, multiple sources told ESPNBoston.com. Reinold was originally hired as athletic trainer but was given expanded authority until his dismissal after last season. Players took sides not only on Toradol, but other issues.
Outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury in 2010 publicly challenged Gill over what he contended was a botched diagnosis of his fractured ribs, while former Red Sox pitcher Jonathan Papelbon said he informed then-general manager Theo Epstein and then-manager Terry Francona he would no longer allow Reinold to work on him.
“My thing is that [Reinold] thought he knew everything about everything,” Papelbon said. “You couldn’t tell him anything. I don’t know of any players who thought he was a good trainer.”
And there’s more! You thought this was just about a few players? Nope.
The rift in the medical staff also divided the front office, according to multiple sources. Principal owner John W. Henry championed Gill, who as his personal orthopedist twice operated on Henry’s shoulder. Henry is also a trustee at Massachusetts General Hospital, where Gill is on staff. The baseball operations staff, meanwhile, backed Reinold. At one point, Epstein fired Gill and tried to transfer his duties to team internist Dr. Larry Ronan and Reinold, but was immediately overruled by Henry.
But the situation became so “toxic” between not only Gill and Reinold but with other members of the medical staff, a source said, that Henry did not stand in the way when Gill was not retained as medical director after the 2011 season. That followed a meeting in which Gill, according to multiple sources, demanded that Reinold be fired.
“I’d rather not characterize it, except to say there was a discussion about it and a mutual resolution was achieved,” Red Sox CEO Larry Lucchino said Thursday about that meeting.
The team also fired Scott Waugh—whom a source said had been at odds with Reinold—as physical therapist, Greg Barajas as assistant trainer, and David Page as strength and conditioning coach after the 2011 season. Reinold was also given a reduced title, named to replace Waugh as physical therapist, although former manager Bobby Valentine would complain privately last summer that Reinold exerted undue influence over when injured players could return to the field.