DETROIT -- Matt Thornton is relegated to a position where for now he’s only along for the ride with the Boston Red Sox.
The former White Sox reliever is excited to be in the postseason but also is disappointed he has twice been left off Boston’s postseason roster for the American League Championship Series, which resumes at 3:07 p.m. on Tuesday with Game 3 against the Detroit Tigers.
Thornton also didn’t play in the American League Division Series against the Tampa Bay Rays, either. Even though he can only enjoy the postseason from the bench, Thornton -- who has a $6 million club option for 2014 with a $1 million buyout -- said this isn’t going to be his final season.
“I don’t feel like I’m anywhere near being done in my career,” said Thornton, 37. “I feel like I have plenty left in the tank physically. My arm is probably the best it has felt in a few years actually. It’s a matter of me going out there and being myself and earning the trust. When I got hurt and came back there were so many things going on and we were trying to clinch and the situation didn’t present itself for me to pitch a lot. Like I said, I just stay ready and stay prepared. I have the experience to go out there and go after guys and be ready to go.”
Thornton has kept himself prepared in the interim just in case he’s needed. He has traveled with the Red Sox to both Tampa and now Detroit and has had several bullpen sessions and has thrown a simulated game.
The left-hander, who had a 3.74 ERA in 60 games this season, missed most of August with a right oblique injury. By the time he returned, the Red Sox were in the pennant stretch and the opportunities were few and far between for Thornton, who admits he was inconsistent. In seven innings after his Aug. 27 return, Thornton allowed 10 hits, four earned runs and walked three.
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Those figures aren’t quite what Thornton hoped for when the White Sox traded him to the Red Sox on July 12. While he’s not happy about his inactivity, Thornton knows he has never been this far before and has been able to enjoy Boston’s run. The stretch run also coincided with the Sept. 10 birth of his son, Monroe.
“I was certainly disappointed it didn’t work out but I was inconsistent when I came back from my injury,” Thornton said. “For whatever reason, it just didn’t work out for me for the roster. But I’m staying ready and being a teammate that’s ready to go if something happens. It’s been fun to be a part of and watch and I’m along for the party now and having fun and enjoying the atmosphere of the ALCS.”