This afternoon the Yankees declined to pull back Matt Thornton when he was claimed on waivers by the Nationals, giving away the 37-year-old left-hander. And now to replace him in the bullpen they’ve called up 34-year-old left-hander Rich Hill from Triple-A.
Thornton had a 2.55 ERA and 20/6 K/BB ratio in 25 innings, but struggled with inherited runners, never really gained the trust of manager Joe Girardi as more than a situational southpaw, and is owed $3.5 million for 2015.
Of course, Hill’s previous stint in the majors this season came with the Angels and he failed to retire any of the four batters he faced before being released. And last year he had a 6.28 ERA in 39 innings for the Indians.
So how did he convince the Yankees to call him up as Thornton’s replacement? Hill made four appearances at Triple-A, allowing zero runs and striking out 10 of the 16 batters he faced.
Blue Jays closer Ken Giles hasn’t exactly turned things around since joining the Blue Jays on July 31, when the club sent embattled closer Roberto Osuna to the Astros. Giles posted a 4.99 ERA in 30 2/3 innings with the Astros, then put up a slightly less miserable 4.58 ERA in 17 2/3 innings with the Jays. Still, he’s much happier with the Jays than he was with the Astros, even after winning the World Series with them last year. He said to Rosie DiManno of the Toronto Star, “I’m actually enjoying the game more than I did for my entire tenure in Houston. It’s kind of weird to say that because I won a World Series with that team. But it’s like, I just felt trapped there. I didn’t feel like myself there. Overall, I felt out of place.”
Giles also said “the communication was lost” with the Astros and it was something that came easy with the Jays. He said, “When I came here, they stayed patient with me. I said hey, I want to work on this thing till I’m comfortable. All right. OK, I’m comfortable, let’s move on to this next thing. Pitching, you can’t just try to fix everything at once. For me, I had to take baby steps to get my groove back. The Jays allowed me to do that. Yeah, the team was out of contention, but it doesn’t matter. It’s still my career. I still have to prove myself. Them being so patient with me, understanding what I want to do, was very, very big.”
Giles, 28, has two more years of arbitration eligibility remaining. He has shown promise despite his overall mediocre numbers. In non-save situations this season (with both the Astros and Jays), he has a 9.12 ERA. But in save situations, his ERA is a pristine 0.38. Giles could be a closer the Jays find themselves leaning on as they attempt to get back into competitive shape. Since it sounds like Giles is quite enamored with Toronto and with the Blue Jays, a discussion about a contract extension certainly could be had.