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Dodgers release Joe Thatcher from minors contract

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Joe Thatcher pitched in 17 games for Triple-A Oklahoma City before opting out of his minor league contract.
Joe Thatcher pitched in 17 games for Triple-A Oklahoma City before opting out of his minor league contract.
Photo: Oklahoma City Dodgers

LOS ANGELES -- Veteran relief pitcher Joe Thatcher has been released by the Dodgers on Saturday after the left-hander exercised an opt-out clause in his contract.

Thatcher, 34, had a 3.60 ERA in 17 games for Triple-A Oklahoma City, with 21 strikeouts and five walks in his 15 innings. He held left-handed batters in the PCL to just 4-for-24 against him (.167/.259/.292) with three walks and nine strikeouts.

The nine-year major league veteran pitched in the majors for the Astros in 2015, putting up a 3.18 ERA in 43 games, with 26 strikeouts and 12 walks in 22⅔ innings

But the Dodgers bullpen has been strong of late, putting up a 1.30 ERA since May 21, and there was simply no room for Thatcher on the major league roster. Especially with the emergence of left-hander Adam Liberatore, who has a 1.08 ERA in 22 appearances, with 17 strikeouts and six walks in his 16⅔ innings.

Lefties are just 4-for-33 (.121/.189/.242) against Liberatore in 2016, with six strikeouts and two walks.

Thatcher joins a group of veteran relievers who joined the Dodgers on a minor league deal this season, only to opt out when their ticket to the majors wasn't punched. Fellow lefty Sean Burnett was released on May 2, and right-hander Dale Thayer was released on May 3.