Bullpen bulletin: Boston acquires lefty Thornton

Boston acquired lefty reliever Matt Thornton from Chicago Friday
Jan-Christian Sorensen Contributing Writer

Boston made a move to bolster its bullpen Friday by acquiring lefty reliever Matt Thornton along with cash from the Chicago White Sox in exchange for minor league outfielder Brandon Jacobs.

Thornton, who has pitched for Chicago since 2006, is a career 32-41 with a 3.53 ERA. His best season was 2010, when he made the American League All-Star team en route to going 5-4 with a 2.67 ERA and 81 strikeouts in 60.2 innings pitched.

So far in 2013 Thornton — who could join the Red Sox in Oakland as soon as tomorrow — is 0-3 with a 3.86 ERA and 21 strikeouts in 28 innings of work. While his strikeout percentage has declined steadily since 2010 (33.9% to 18.1% this season), as has his strikeouts per nine innings (12.02 K/9 in 2010 to 6.75 K/9 in 2013), Thornton could still be a valuable specialist against left-handed batters, who are only hitting .173 against him this season.

Jacobs, who was drafted by the Red Sox in the 10th round of the 2009 MLB June Amateur Draft out of Parkview High School in Georgia, played 83 games in high-A and AA ball for Boston this year and is batting .246 with 11 home runs and 44 RBI.

Thornton will fill the cleats of southpaw reliever Andrew Miller, who injured his foot in a July 6 game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and will likely require season-ending surgery. To make room for Thornton on the 40-man roster, Miller — a dependable cog in the relief corps machine to date, posting a 2.64 ERA while striking out 48 in 30.2 innings of work — was moved to the 60-day disabled list.

While Boston still has a left-handed option out of the bullpen in Craig Breslow, their other southpaw, Franklin Morales, remains on the DL with a pectoral strain.

"We are what we are, and we've had some attrition in that area," said Red Sox GM Ben Cherington. "When Andrew went down, it probably increased our level of urgency. We found (a fit) we think makes sense. There was some motivation to do it prior to the break, because after the break we get back into AL East play. Stabilizing and fortifying the 'pen made sense."

Twitter: @jan_doh