It’s not the type of relief acquisition Dodgers fans have been hoping for, but the team recently signed free agent Tyler Thornburg, Rob Bradford of WEEI relays. It’s a minor league contract for the right-hander, who had been available since the Red Sox released him July 10. Despite signing with the Dodgers before the All-Star break, Thornburg hasn’t pitched for any of their affiliates yet, according to Bradford.
The 30-year-old Thornburg has gone through a sharp, injury-caused fall from grace since a brief run as one of the game’s top relievers. Thornburg debuted with the Brewers in 2012, but it took until 2016 for him to enjoy what looked like a breakout season. That year, Thornburg recorded a sparkling 2.15 ERA/2.83 FIP with 12.09 K/9 and 3.36 BB/9 in 67 innings. The Brewers sold high on Thornburg during the subsequent offseason, sending him to the Red Sox for a pair of infielders – Travis Shaw and Mauricio Dubon – as well as righty Josh Pennington.
Boston was expecting Thornburg to be an integral part of its bullpen in 2017, but he instead missed the entire season because of shoulder problems that led to thoracic outlet syndrome surgery. While Thornburg made it back last year, he stumbled to a 5.63 ERA/6.04 FIP with 7.88 K/9 and 3.75 BB/9 in 24 innings. Thornburg wasn’t part of the Red Sox’s World Series-winning roster during the fall, and a hip impingement this season limited him to 18 2/3 frames of 7.71 ERA/5.42 FIP pitching (with 10.61 K/9 against 4.62 BB/9) before the Sox cut the cord.