The Washington Nationals today claimed left-handed reliever Matt Thornton off waivers from the New York Yankees. The Nationals also transferred right-handed pitcher Taylor Jordan to the 60-Day Disabled List. Nationals President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Mike Rizzo made the announcement.
Thornton joins the Nationals after going 0-3 with 12 holds and a 2.55 ERA (7 ER/24.2 IP) in 46 appearances in his lone season with the Yankees. In his 24.2 innings with New York (AL), Thornton has not allowed a home run, walked just six and struck out 20 (or 7.3 per 9.0 innings).
In 11 big league seasons 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 recorded at least 20 holds in five consecutive seasons (2008 - 12), 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.