Thornburg was shut down for the remainder of the 2018 season due to a lack of command on the mound, Chris Cotillo of MassLive.com reports.
Thornburg hasn't pitched since Sept. 14, when he logged another poor outing against the Mets. According to manager Alex Cora, Thornburg just didn't have the ability to bounce back and it has since become apparent that Cora doesn't trust the right-hander in any sort of situation. Per Cotillo, Thornburg is "looking forward" to having a regular offseason after dealing with shoulder injuries the past couple years.
Thornburg worked around a pair of hits to pitch a scoreless inning in Thursday's 7-0 win over Cleveland.
It's been a while since we've seen Thornburg in a high-leverage spot, as sixteen of his 19 appearances have been considered low leverage. The Red Sox acquired him from Milwaukee in 2016 to be a setup man, but manager Alex Cora has shown more trust in Matt Barnes, Joe Kelly and even recent call-up Ryan Brasier. Thornburg has been scored on only twice in his last 10 outings but has allowed 15 baserunners in 9.2 innings. He's managed to pitch out of jams, but that's not a trait you want in a short reliever.
Thornburg struck out one in a scoreless inning in Saturday's 10-4 win over the Twins.
Thornburg has retired 10 consecutive batters in four appearances since making mechanical changes to his delivery. He's made just nine appearances since returning from a shoulder injury that wiped out a year-and-a-half, but is pitching well right now. Red Sox manager Alex Cora told Christopher Smith of MassLive.com that he needs to be wary of the workload being placed on Thornburg, but he could eventually become a pivotal high-leverage reliever for the Red Sox.
Thornburg adjusted his mechanics and retired the side in the ninth inning of Sunday's 9-1 win over Detroit, Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald reports.
Thornburg was lit up Saturday when he allowed three runs on two hits, including a home run to the light-hitting Jose Iglesias, prompting Red Sox coaches to look at some video of the pitcher when he was with Milwaukee. Manager Alex Cora said they found something, so he wanted to get Thornburg back in a game immediately to work on the adjustments. The result was a perfect 1-2-3 inning in which the right-hander threw just seven pitches, all for strikes. "Yeah that was good," Cora said. "Fastballs up in the zone. They found something mechanically that they feel from now on he should be fine. That was good to see." The outing was the first time Thornburg has thrown on consecutive days since he was activated earlier this month. If he continues to pitch as he did Sunday, Thornburg could be a more reliable eighth-inning bridge than either Matt Barnes or Joe Kelly.
Thornburg allowed one run on one hit in one inning in Friday's 10-5 win over the Royals.
Thornburg, who last pitched in a major league game Oct. 2, 2016, made his debut for the Red Sox in a decidedly low-leverage spot, entering with Boston holding an 8-1 lead. It's been a long time coming for both Thornburg and the Red Sox, who acquired the right-hander from Milwaukee 576 days ago. He allowed a triple to the first batter faced -- it was Lucas Duda's first three-bagger in seven years -- then retired the next three batters. Ideally, Thornburg works his way into a setup role, but that won't come until he gets acclimated to throwing in this environment and if he's getting batters out consistently.
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|2011||AFA-Brevard County Manat||3||6||3.57||12||12||0||0||0||68.0||45||30||27||5||4||33||84|
|2011||AFX-Wisconsin Timber Rat||7||0||1.59||12||12||2||1||0||68.0||49||14||12||3||4||25||76|
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