November 3, 2013

MAJOR LEAGUE NOTEBOOK: Red Sox release reliever

Obtained in a July trade, Matt Thornton is released.

The Associated Press

BOSTON — The Red Sox declined their contract option on left-hander Matt Thornton.

The Red Sox obtained Thornton on July 12 from the Chicago White Sox but he wasn’t on a postseason roster.

In 20 outings for Boston, all in relief, Thornton was 0-1 with a 3.52 ERA. In 60 relief appearances with the White Sox and Red Sox, he was 0-4 with a 3.74 ERA.

In 10 seasons he appeared in 606 games, starting one, and is 32-42 with a 3.53 ERA.

RAYS: Tampa Bay exercised options on All-Star Ben Zobrist and shortstop Yunel Escobar.

Zobrist hit .275 while starting games at four positions and leading AL second basemen in fielding percentage this year. He will earn $7 million in 2014, and the Rays hold a $7.5 million option on him for 2015 with a $500,000 buyout.

Escobar will get $5 million after playing in a career-high 153 games and leading major league shortstops with a .989 fielding percentage this season. There’s also a $5 million option on Escobar for 2015.

The Rays must decide on a $6.5 million option on outfielder David DeJesus by midnight Sunday. The team has until Monday night to decide on a $2 million option on pitcher Juan Oviedo.

GIANTS: San Francisco parted ways with left-hander Barry Zito, declining to exercise his $18 million contract option for next season and instead owing him a $7 million buyout.

Also Saturday, San Francisco declined its $3 million mutual option for outfielder Andres Torres and must pay him a $500,000 buyout.

Zito, 35, has known this moment was coming, and recently took out a full-page newspaper ad to thank the fans for standing by him through a tough seven seasons. The 2002 AL Cy Young Award winner across the bay for the Oakland Athletics, Zito just completed a $126 million, seven-year contract with San Francisco.

Zito had a 63-80 record with a 4.62 ERA in 197 starts and 208 appearances for the Giants.

He and Torres become free agents.

NOTES

YANKEES: Johnny Kucks, who pitched a three-hitter for the New York Yankees in Game 7 of the 1956 World Series, died in Hillsdale, N.J. He was 81.

Kucks pitched in four World Series with the Yankees from 1955-58, going 1-0 with a 1.89 ERA in eight games.

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