The New York Yankees today announced they have signed left-handed pitcher Matt Thornton to a two-year Major League contract, extending through the 2015 season.
Thornton, 37, went 0-4 with a 3.74 ERA (43.1IP, 18ER, 47H, 15BB, 30K, 4HR) in 60 appearances with Chicago-AL and Boston in 2013, holding left-handed batters to a .235 (19-for-81) batting average and a .638 on-base plus slugging percentage. He spent the first half of the season with the White Sox, going 0-3 with a 3.86 ERA (28.0IP, 12ER) in 40 games before being traded on July 12 to the Red Sox in exchange for minor league outfielder Brandon Jacobs. With Boston, Thornton went 0-1 with a 3.52 ERA (15.1IP, 6ER) in 20 regular season games without making any appearances in the postseason.
The 6-foot-6-inch, Centreville, Mich., native is 32-42 with a 3.53 ERA (568.1IP, 223ER, 506H, 226BB, 582K, 48HR) in 606 career games (including one start) over 10 Major League seasons with Seattle (2004-05), Chicago-AL (2006-13) and Boston (2013). In his career, he has held left-handed hitters to a .232 (215-for-927) batting average, .296 on-base percentage and .350 slugging average with just 21 home runs allowed to 1,029 batters faced.
He is the only Major Leaguer to make at least 55 appearances in each of the last nine seasons (2005-13) and the first Major Leaguer to have eight consecutive seasons of at least 60 games pitched (2006-13) since Mariano Rivera and Francisco Cordero each posted nine straight 60-game seasons from 2003 through 2011.
Thornton is the White Sox's all-time leader with 512 relief appearances and ranks fourth on their all-time games pitched list, trailing only Red Faber (669), Ted Lyons (594) and Wilbur Wood (578).
Thornton was originally selected in the 27th round of the 1995 First-Year Player Draft by Detroit but instead attended Grand Valley State University (Mich.) for three years. In 1998, he was selected by Seattle in the first round (22nd pick) of the First-Year Player draft. He was traded from Seattle to the White Sox on March 20, 2006, in exchange for outfielder Joe Borchard.
To make room on the 40-man roster, the Yankees designated outfielder Vernon Wells for assignment.