White Sox Pick up Club Options on Castro and Thornton; Release Torres

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Today the Chicago White Sox exercised 2011 club options on catcher Ramon Castro and left-handed pitcher Matt Thornton. They also released right-hander Carlos Torres, allowing him to pursue an opportunity to pitch in Asia.  Under terms of their deals, Castro will earn a base salary of $1.2 million in 2010, and Thornton will receive a base of $3 million.

Thornton, 34, was named to his first American League All-Star Team in 2010 after going 5-4 with a 2.67 ERA (18 ER/60.2 IP), career-high eight saves and 81 strikeouts in 61 relief appearances.

Castro, 34, hit .278 (32-115) with eight home runs and 21 RBI in 37 games in 2010, his first full season with the White Sox.  The 6-foot-3, 240-pound Castro made 31 starts at catcher, and his eight home runs tied for the second-highest total of his career.

Thornton led all AL relievers in strikeouts per 9.0 IP (12.02), strikeouts and inherited runners scored percentage (12.9), ranked eighth in strikeout-to-walk ratio (4.05) and holds (21) and ninth in opponents average (.191).  He limited left-handers to a .175 (17-97) average with 44 strikeouts and became the first Sox reliever to top the AL in strikeouts since Keith Foulke in 1999.

The 6-foot-6, 235-pound Thornton is 26-23 with a 3.68 ERA (158 ER/400.1 IP) and 436 strikeouts in 410 games (one start) over seven major-league seasons with Seattle (2004-05) and Chicago (2006-10).

Thornton is the White Sox all-time leader with 100 holds.

Torres, 28, spent most of the 2010 season with Class AAA Charlotte, going 9-9 with a 3.42 ERA (61 ER/160.1 IP) and 140 strikeouts in 27 games (25 starts).  He also pitched in five games (one start) with the White Sox, going 0-1 with a 8.56 ERA (13 ER/13.2 IP).

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