Source: Dodgers put Sherrill on waivers

ST. LOUIS -- Los Angeles Dodgers reliever George Sherrill, who was an All-Star closer for the Baltimore Orioles just a year ago, has been put on waivers by the club, a major league source confirmed Wednesday on the condition of anonymity.

Sherrill, a left-hander, entered the season as the incumbent eighth-inning setup man, but he has never been able to find his comfort level mechanically since the start of spring training, a major reason he has a 7.32 ERA in 34 appearances. He lost the setup job early on, and it eventually fell to lefty Hong-Chih Kuo, who wound up making the National League All-Star team.

Sherrill even went onto the disabled for a time in late May and early June because of a fairly negligible back issue so he could go on a minor league rehabilitation assignment in hopes of working out his issues with his pitching delivery.

Sherrill's poor performance makes it highly unlikely that another club will claim him, but outright waivers are irrevocable, meaning that if Sherrill is claimed, the Dodgers will lose him to that club. If Sherrill clears, meaning three full business days pass from the time he was waived without another team claiming him, he will have the option of accepting an outright assignment, presumably to Triple-A Albuquerque, or becoming a free agent.

Sherrill, 33, was arbitration-eligible last winter and agreed to terms with the Dodgers on a one-year, $4.5 million contract, with bonuses of $75,000 each for reaching the 60- and 70-appearance plateaus. If he rejects the assignment, it will be a rather expensive parting of the ways for the Dodgers. But given Sherrill's struggles this season, it isn't necessarily a given that he would be able to find work elsewhere this late in the season.

Sherrill was the Dodgers' primary trading-deadline acquisition last summer when they got him from the Orioles for longtime third-base prospect Josh Bell and minor league pitcher Steven Johnson. Because the Dodgers already had an All-Star closer of their own in Jonathan Broxton, Sherrill immediately fell back into an eighth-inning role, something he accepted willingly and without complaint.

Sherrill also never has hidden from his issues this season, freely discussing them with the media whenever he has been asked to do so and pointing the finger of blame only at himself.

Tony Jackson covers the Dodgers for ESPNLosAngeles.com.