Red Sox Release Tyler Thornburg After Reliever Refused Minor League Assignment

The Red Sox have released right-handed reliever Tyler Thornburg, per the club’s official Twitter account.

Thornburg, 30, was returned from his month-long rehab assignment with Triple-A Pawtucket on Monday without being activated from the 10-day injured list with a right hip impingement, meaning the Sox had two days to decide whether to add the righty back to the active roster, designate him for assignment, or outright him.

On Tuesday, WEEI’s Rob Bradford reported that Thornburg would not accept a minor league assignment, so this outcome seemed the most likely before it even occurred.

Acquired by Boston from the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for infielder Travis Shaw and minor leaguers, Yeison Coca, Maurico Dubon, and Josh Pennington in December of 2016, Thornburg’s tenure with the Red Sox did not go according to plan.

Given his reputation as one of the better setup men in the National League in his time with Milwaukee, Thornburg was seen as part of the bridge out of the Sox bullpen that would make way for Craig Kimbrel in the ninth inning.

Instead, the Texas native missed all the 2017 season due to thoracic outlet syndrome in his throwing shoulder and did not make his Red Sox debut until July 6th of the following season.

There, Thornburg appeared in 25 games for Boston, posting a dismal 5.63 ERA and .901 OPS against over 24 innings pitched before being shut down for the remainder of the year on September 26th.

This year, the former third round pick made his first Opening Day roster as a member of the Red Sox, and allowed 16 earned runs on 21 hits and 10 walks to go along with 22 strikeouts over 16 appearances and 18 2/3 innings of work. That’s good for an ERA of 7.71 and OPS against of .972. Not great.

Thornburg yielded two runs on two hits and two walks in the sixth inning of a 10-3 loss against the Toronto Blue Jays on may 21st, two days before he was placed on the IL.

While rehabbing with the PawSox, Thornburg posted a 12.66 ERA and 2.44 WHIP over 11 outings (one start) and just 10 2/3 frames pitched.

As mentioned before, his reputation while with the Brewers should give Thornburg another shot with another club, but it was clear that the marriage between him and the Red Sox was never going to work out. Perhaps a change of scenery will do him better.

Out of all the trades Dave Dombrowski has made since taking over as the Red Sox’ president of baseball operations in 2015, this particular one he made with David Stearns should go down as one of the worst.

The Red Sox virtually got nothing of value out of Thornburg while he was with the club, nor could they flip him for any sort of asset(s) either.

Instead, Travis Shaw, despite being demoted to Triple-A San Antonio last month, has gone on to have two 30-plus home run seasons with the Brewers.

Mauricio Dubon, meanwhile, worked his way to becoming Milwaukee’s fifth-ranked prospect before getting the call up the majors on July 7th, where he will look to provide infield depth to a team competing for a National League Central crown.

All this transpiring while the Red Sox continue to deal with struggles in their bullpen and may even trade for a reliever of Thornburg’s perceived caliber before he arrived in Boston.

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Milwaukee Brewers Call up Former Red Sox Prospect Mauricio Dubon

The Milwaukee Brewers recalled infielder Mauricio Dubon from Triple-A San Antonio earlier Sunday, meaning another former Red Sox prospect will be making his major league debut this season.

Dubon, 24, was selected by Boston in the 26th round of the 2013 amateur draft out of Capital Christian School in Sacramento, Ca.

In four minor league seasons across Boston’s farm system, the Honduras native rose to become the club’s 17th-ranked prospect before being part of the trade, along with Travis Shaw,  Josh Pennington, and Yeison Coca, that sent right-handed reliever Tyler Thornburg to the Red Sox in December of 2016.

Since then, Dubon has shined. That much is evident by his .307/.343/.491 slash line to go along with 14 home runs and 42 RBI over 82 games with Triple-A San Antonio in 2019.

Thornburg, meanwhile, has done quite the opposite, posting a 7.71 ERA and 5.34 xFIP through 16 appearances and 18 2/3 innings pitched with Boston this season.

Placed on the injured list with a right hip impingement on May 23 and sent out on a rehab assignment with Triple-A Pawtucket on June 9th, the 30-year-old has surrendered 15 earned runs on 16 hits and eight walks over 9 2/3 innings and 10 total appearances. That’s good for an ERA of 13.97 and a batting average against of .340. Not great.

Per MassLive.com, Thornburg’s rehab assignment expires on July 8th, so the Red Sox will have to decide what actions to take with the reliever over the All-Star break. Whether its to add him back to the active roster or designate him for assignment has yet to be determined.

RECAP: Mookie Betts saves the day as #RedSox salvage Game 3 in 4-1 victory.

The Red Sox came into Thursday one loss away from falling to .500 on the season. Luckily for them, there were a few guys who didn’t want that to happen. Let’s start with Eduardo Rodriguez. This guy has really grown on me since the beginning of the season. For a 24-year-old already in the bigs, I think he gets a lot of criticism, guess that’s just what happens here, though. Anyway, ERod had himself a solid outing against a Milwaukee team that can score runs in bunches. Only giving up one run on three hits in six innings is nice to see, especially with the way Pomeranz and Kendrick pitched the past two games. He would have gone out for the seventh, but with a runner on base in the top of the seventh, John Farrell made the decision to pinch hit ERod for Chris Young, which I was fine with. 87 pitches total, and the only real mistake came in the sixth when he gave up a double to Jonathan Villar that allowed Manny Pina to score from second. From the seventh inning on, the bullpen did what they had to do to shut down the Brewers. There was cause for concern in the bottom of the eighth, when there was a man on first with one out. Craig Kimbrel would be inserted into the game earlier than usual, and after giving up an infield single and throwing a wild pitch, Kimbrel struck out Keon Broxton to end the inning. In the ninth, Kimbrel would do something that is rarely done in the game of baseball, toss an immaculate inning. 9 pitches, 9 strikes, 3 K’s. I know we’re only five and a half weeks into the season, but, as of today, Kimbrel’s K/9 of 17.81 is the best it has been throughout his career, based on end of the year stats from 2010-2016. If the Red Sox get elite Kimbrel and he pitches longer outings, then that would be great for this bullpen which can be characterised as unreliable.

After Mookie Betts scored in the first because of a fielding error, the Red Sox bats went relatively dormant. They had plenty of chances, like in the eighth, when they loaded the bases with only one out. Jackie Bradley and Josh Rutledge both got their chance to drive in some runs, but they both struck out. It wasn’t until the ninth when the Red Sox took advantage of what was given to them. After Christian Vazquez walked and Deven Marrero reached on a fielder’s choice, Mookie Betts came to the plate looking to take the lead, and that’s exactly what he did. Betts took Neftali Feliz deep to left field, mashing his fifth home run of the season, while also plating three runs, making it a 4-1 game. And that blast would do it.

Mother’s Day Weekend series against the Rays next, Porcello and Sale will be pitching. David Price is rehabbing in Pawtucket on Sunday, Carson Smith and Tyler Thornburg are getting healthier, things aren’t looking awful. Just wait until this team has a good few weeks, just you wait.

18 down, 76 to go. 

RECAP: Kyle Kendrick isn’t that good; #RedSox drop game two 7-4.

Just a quick little recap before game three at 1. Kyle Kendrick got his second start for the big league club, and he kind of sucked. Pitching only 4.1 innings, Kendrick allowed ten hits while surrendering six earned runs. The four pitchers that went into the game after him, Hembree, Abad, Barnes, and Scott, did an okay job to finish the game, combining for 3.2 IP, 3 H, and 1 ER. It would appear that Kyle Kendrick is done in Boston, for the time being, with Robbie Ross being recalled from Pawtucket and Kendrick getting optioned to Pawtucket. It also looks like Brian Johnson will get another opportunity start, taking Kendrick’s spot in the rotation.

Offensively, the Red Sox offense did their part by getting on base, but they couldn’t get any good results, scoring only four times. Jackie Bradley was inserted back into the lineup, and he hit his second home run of the season in the second inning. That was pretty much the best thing that happened for the Red Sox on Wednesday.

Game three is about an hour away. Eduardo Rodriguez will be looking to salvage this series by picking up his second win of the season.

17 down, 77 to go. 

RECAP: Pomeranz disappoints as #RedSox drop series opener in Milwaukee.

Up until Tuesday night, Drew Pomeranz has been a decent starter at the back-end of the Red Sox rotation. With a decent ERA of 4.00, Pomeranz was looking to put another solid start together against the Milwaukee Brewers. Unfortunately for him, things did not go his away. Pomeranz got rocked in the first inning, surrendering five runs on four hits, including two home runs, one which came off the bat of Eric Thames. The southpaw would settle down after the first though, only giving up one run over the next three innings pitched. Despite limiting the damage after the first, it’s definitely a problem that Pomeranz consistently fails to pitch deep into these games. So far this season, Pomeranz has only pitched six or more innings twice, out of six total starts. I just don’t think he’ll ever live up to any lofty expectations, hopefully Anderson Espinoza doesn’t turn out to be a perennial ace down the road.

The Red Sox bullpen did not help the cause on Tuesday. Fernando Abad, Robby Scott, and Joe Kelly were fine, pitching a combined 2.2 innings while only giving up one hit and zero runs between them. But then you had guys like Heath Hembree and Ben Taylor who sucked last night. Hembree gave up three runs while only recording one out and Ben Taylor gave up two runs while pitching through the seventh. This bullpen is going to need help soon. Other than Craig Kimbrel, it’s been difficult to trust most guys in that bullpen. I don’t know if that help will come in the form of Tyler Thornburg, or Carson Smith, or maybe a mid-season acquisition. I do know that they can’t sustain that level of damage we saw on Tuesday for an extended period of time.

On the bright side of things, the Red Sox offense is actually scoring runs on a consistent basis. Since the game last Friday in Minnesota, the Red Sox are scoring an average of 11.7 runs per game. Mookie Betts continued to get hotter on Tuesday, leading off the game with a solo home run, his fourth of the season. That’s not all Mookie did, though. In the top of the fifth, with Chase d’Arnaud on first, Mookie would double to left, allowing d’Arnaud to score from first. In the eighth, Betts hit another double, this time scoring both Josh Rutledge and Deven Marrero. Since the beginning of the month, Betts is slashing a solid .333/.405/.1.072. Another player who has been impressing recently has to be Andrew Benintendi, who drove in two runs last night, raising his season total to a team-high 22 RBIs. Benintendi actually leads the Red Sox in just about every major offensive stat, pretty crazy for a rookie to do that.

 

17 down, 77 to go.