Jul 19, 2014; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees relief pitcher Matt Thornton (48) pitches against the Cincinnati Reds during the ninth inning at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees defeated the Reds 7-1. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Nationals Acquire Reliever Matt Thornton on Waiver Claim

In the days leading up to the July 31 Non-Waiver Trade Deadline, general manager Mike Rizzo and the Nationals tried to add a left-handed reliever to bolster the bullpen. Now, nearly a week after the deadline, the Nationals appear to have found their man in left-hander Matt Thornton, whom the team claimed off waivers from the Yankees today.

In 46 appearances for the Yankees this season, Thornton is 0-3 with 12 holds and a 2.55 ERA in 24 2/3 innings. In his career, the left-hander has a 3.39 ERA in parts of 11 seasons with the Mariners, White Sox, Red Sox and Yankees. 

Thornton, 37, should bolster a Nationals bullpen that has struggled from the left side.

The team acquired left-hander Jerry Blevins in the offseason in hopes that he would be the dominant lefty specialist he was for the Athletics last season. But, after starting the season strong, Blevins is in a prolonged slump that has seen his ERA climb from 3.15 in late May to 5.09 — the worst ERA of any Nationals reliever.

Former starter Ross Detwiler is the other left-hander in the Nationals’ bullpen but he is not a true, late-inning lefty, though manager Matt Williams recently said he’d be used in key late-inning situations going forward.

In a corresponding move, the Nationals transferred right-hander Taylor Jordan to the 60-day disabled list.

Worth Noting:

The Nationals placed catcher Wilson Ramos on the paternity list as his wife had a baby this morning. Ramos is expected to take three days of paternity leave. The team called up catcher Sandy Leon from Triple-A Syracuse to take his spot on the active roster.

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Tags: Matt Thornton Washington Nationals

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