Nationals acquire LHP Matt Thornton
by Amanda Comak
In a move that bolsters the left side of their bullpen with a veteran arm, the Washington Nationals acquired left-handed reliever Matt Thornton on a waiver claim from the New York Yankees on Tuesday.
Thornton, 37, joins the Nationals after going 0-3 with 12 holds and a 2.55 ERA in 46 appearances in his lone season in New York. In his 24.2 innings with the Yankees, Thornton has not allowed a home run, walked just six and struck out 20 (7.3 strikeouts per nine innings).
In 11 Major League seasons that included stops with the Mariners, White Sox, Red Sox and Yankees, Thornton is 32-45 with 182 holds, 23 saves and a 3.49 ERA in 652 games/one start. When facing left-handed batters, Thornton’s career batting average against is .233 and his opponents’ on-base percentage against is .297.
Thornton’s 411 strikeouts the last seven seasons (2008 – present) are the most in baseball among left-handed relievers. He’s also recorded at least 20 holds in five consecutive seasons (2008 – 2012), including a career-high 26 for the White Sox in ’12.
The 37-year-old Thornton, in his only career postseason experience, worked 3.1 scoreless innings for the White Sox in the 2008 American League Division Series against Tampa Bay.
Thornton was the Mariners first-round selection (22nd overall) in the 1998 First-Year Player Draft.
Additionally, right-hander Taylor Jordan was transferred to the 60-day Disabled List.