The Red Sox finally gave up on Tyler Thornburg and released the righthanded reliever on Wednesday, bringing to an end 2½ years of frustration.
Thornburg competed a 30-day rehabilitation assignment with Triple A Pawtucket on Tuesday but remained on the injured list. Once Thornburg refused to continue his minor league assignment, which was his right, he was released.
The Sox owe him the balance of his $1.75 million contract and Thornburg is free to sign with another organization.
The move puts a cap on the failed December 2016 trade that saw the Sox send four players to the Milwaukee Brewers for Thornburg, who had been one of the best relievers in the National League that season.
But Thornburg reported to spring training in 2017 with a sore shoulder and was eventually diagnosed with thoracic outlet syndrome. He underwent surgery on June 16 of that season and did not return to the majors for 13 months.
Thornburg had a 5.63 earned run average in 25 appearances last season before he was shut down in September and left off the postseason roster.
He pitched poorly in spring training this year but still made the team, the Sox stubborn in their belief that he could return to form.
But Thornburg had a 7.71 ERA and 1.661 WHIP in 16 appearances with the Sox. He was placed on the injured list in May with what the team said was a right hip impingement.
Thornburg tried pitching again in June and the results only worsened. He appeared in 11 games for Pawtucket and allowed 15 runs on 17 hits and nine walks over 10⅔ innings.
As Thornburg struggled, Milwaukee reaped the benefits of the trade. Infielder Travis Shaw has hit .244 with 69 home runs and 200 RBIs in 353 games for Milwaukee, although he is now in Triple A.
Another infielder, 24-year-old Mauricio Dubon, made his major league debut with Milwaukee last week and is thought to have a bright future after strong play in the minor leagues.
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The Red Sox signed righthander Blake Loubier, their 13th round draft pick, to a $500,000 bonus. Loubier, from Oviedo, Fla., had been committed to Wake Forest.
The deadline for picks to sign is Friday at 5 p.m. The Sox have deals with at least 23 of their 40 picks, including 15 of the first 20.
One notable exception is North Andover High righthander Sebastian Keane, who appears likely to stick with his commitment to Northeastern. He was taken in the 11th round.