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Blue Jays fire trainer, strength coach as part of front office shakeup

Toronto Blue Jays chief executive officer Mark Shapiro THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marta Iwanek

TORONTO – The Toronto Blue Jays have fired long-time assistant athletic trainer Mike Frostad and head strength coach Chris Joyner, according to multiple industry sources, while also making changes to the business side of the front office.

Frostad, a Calgary native, spent 22 years in the organization, the past six as the assistant trainer under head trainer George Poulis. Before rejoining the big-league club in 2013, he served as minor-league medical co-ordinator.

Joyner spent 11 years with the club over two stints sandwiched around four years as the strength and conditioning coach for the Milwaukee Brewers. He rejoined the Blue Jays in 2011 on the minor-league side before getting bumped up to the majors in 2014.

The changes come after Ross Atkins alluded to communication issues in the club’s high-performance department during his season-ending meeting with media. The Blue Jays created the department before the 2016 season and dramatically expanded it before this season, when 25 players used the disabled list 31 times for a total loss of 1,408 games.

Atkins said last week he felt like he let down Aaron Sanchez and Devon Travis and noted that, “there were times in the season that I was frustrated, our players were frustrated because of some of the inefficiency of our communication.”

“That happens in transitions, so that’s on me, that’s where I’ve got to ensure that doesn’t occur,” Atkins continued “… and when we are touching players with information and potential options and potential decisions to be made, that we’re much more streamlined, cohesive and leading that process.”

Among the front office changes were Sue Mallabon, Mal Romanin and Erik Grosman, three long-time and very highly respected members of the club’s communications department.