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Matt Thornton

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Matthew J. Thornton

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[edit] Biographical Information

Thornton in 2010.

Pitcher Matt Thornton graduated from Centreville High School in Centreville, Michigan, where he was the area's MVP in basketball for three-straight years. He then attended Grand Valley State University, a Division II school in West Michigan, where he also played basketball.

Thornton was selected by the Seattle Mariners in the first round of the 1998 amateur draft. He was signed by scout Ken Madeja and made his pro debut that year. He recored his first career save for the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers the next season and was named the Mariners' Minor League Pitcher of the Year and California League Pitcher of the Year in 2001 after posting career bests in wins (14), strikeouts (192), and starts (27). However, during his time in the minors, he struggled with elbow injuries, missing most of his first season and later sitting out most of 2002 and part of 2003.

He made his big league debut in 2004 and spent the entire 2005 season as a member of the Mariners bullpen. Prior to the 2006 season, he was traded to the Chicago White Sox for outfielder Joe Borchard. He has been a member of the team's bullpen ever since, working as a LOOGY and set-up man. He did especially well in this role in the White Sox's run to an unexpected division title in 2008, putting up an ERA of 2.67 (a 171 ERA+) in 67 1/3 relief innings; he also struck out 77 batters while walking only 19. Although not well-known by the general public, his solid performance was noticed by the bosses of Team USA, who added him to the roster for the 2009 World Baseball Classic after better-known reliever such as B.J. Ryan, Joe Nathan and Brian Fuentes pulled out at the last moment.

Thornton was traded to the Boston Red Sox on July 12, 2013 in return for minor league OF Brandon Jacobs. That put an end to a 10-season run with the White Sox during which he appeared in 512 games - all in relief - the 4th-most in team history after Red Faber, Ted Lyons and Wilbur Wood. He was charged with a loss in his first appearance for the BoSox on July 14th, after he came in with the score tied, 2-2, in the bottom of the 11th and walked pinch-hitter Chris Young to lead off the inning, then allowed the game-winning hit to Josh Donaldson with two outs. He made 20 appearances with the Red Sox, putting up a 3.52 ERA in 15 1/3 innings; however, he did not pitch in the postseason as the Red Sox became World Champions. A free agent after the season, he signed a two-year contract with the New York Yankees on December 17th, being slated to replace Boone Logan as the team's main lefty reliever.

[edit] Notable Achievements

[edit] Records Held

  • All-time American League holds leader [1]
  • Most holds ever with a single team [2]

[edit] Related Sites

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