Durable left-hander Tom Thornton made 20 starts for the 2009 RailCats and is aiming to rejoin the rotation this summer.
Thornton, 26, set a multitude of career highs for the ‘Cats, ranking third in the Northern League with eight wins, matching teammate Tony Cogan for club-high honors. One of only two RailCats to make more than 15 starts, Thornton logged a career-best 115.2 innings in 2009 and even fired his first complete game, beating the Joliet JackHammers August 18 at Silver Cross Field.
Entering his fifth professional season, Thornton went 1-2 in limited action for the Frontier League’s Evansville Otters in 2008 after splitting time between the Frontier and Can-Am Leagues in 2007. Originally selected in the 21st round of the Major League Entry Draft by the Detroit Tigers in 2006, Thornton posted a 3.33 ERA in 11 starts for the Oneonta Tigers (A) that summer.
A pitching star at Notre Dame, the 6’6” Thornton won 27 games in a four-year career for the Fighting Irish, was a Second Team All-Big East selection as a junior and was named Notre Dame’s co-captain as a senior. Thornton was a star on and off the field during his four years, and became the first Irish baseball player to be honored with the Chris Zorich Award recognizing community service excellence, along with a number of other team awards in 2006. On the field, Thornton was Notre Dame’s top starter on a 2006 team that included Chicago Cubs right-hander and Valparaiso native Jeff Samardzija, going 7-3 with a 3.94 ERA as a senior.