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Friday, July 12, 2013
Red Sox acquire LHP Thornton from White Sox

By Gordon Edes

OAKLAND -- The Red Sox, acting swiftly after losing Andrew Miller to a season-ending foot injury, announced in the second inning here Friday night that they had acquired left-handed reliever Matt Thornton and cash for minor-league outfielder Brandon Jacobs.

Thornton, 36, is a fastball-slider pitcher whose velocity still averages a tick over 94 miles an hour, though his strikeout ratio has dropped each year from 12.02 per 9 innings to 6.75 this season. He has made 40 appearances (28 innings) this season for the White Sox and has held left-handed hitters to a .173 average this season (9 for 52), though three of the four home runs he has given up this season have been to left-handed hitters.

Right-handed hitters have knocked him around, with a slash line of .320/.414/.420.

But the veteran Thornton, who has an 0-3 record and 3.86 ERA, his highest ERA since 2007, gives Boston a veteran arm to pair with Craig Breslow in the absence of Miller, who was enjoying the best season of his career until he tore a ligament in his left foot while backing up home plate last Saturday night in Anaheim.

Thornton is in the last year of a two-year, $12 million contract extension the White Sox gave him after the 2011 season. There is also a club option for 2014 for $6 million, with a $1 million buyout, and it is fair to speculate the cash coming Boston’s way would at least cover the the cost of the buyout.

The trade of Jacobs comes one day after the 22-year-old outfielder was promoted from Class A Salem, where he was in his second season, to Double-A Portland. Jacobs, a 10th-round draft pick in 2009 who was given a big bonus ($750,000) to induce him to break a football commitment to Auburn, was hitting a modest .244/.334/.440 overall at Salem, but had turned it on in the 11 games before his promotion, batting .410/.510/.718 with 2 home runs and 6 doubles.

Jacobs had two hits, including a triple, in his Double-A debut on Thursday, and had a hit in two trips before being pulled in mid-game Friday.