Retirement the Wright decision for LA pitcher

Righty pitched for 10 teams over 19 big league seasons

March 28th, 2016

PHOENIX -- When told on Sunday he wouldn't make the Dodgers roster, which Jamey Wright said he figured out two weeks ago, the 41-year-old pitcher announced his retirement on Monday.

"It's time," Wright said, "and I knew it."

Ten teams, 19 Major League seasons and separate careers as a starter and reliever, Wright was a first-round Draft pick of the Rockies in 1993, the same year as Alex Rodriguez, Darren Dreifort and Billy Wagner. He started 248 games, relieved in 471 and was mounting a comeback this season after sitting out 2015 following a late spring release by Texas.

The Dodgers brought him in as a non-roster invitee, which was nothing new to Wright, who had made eight Major League clubs in tryout mode.

This time was different, though, as Wright realized early on. He said while on the mound his mind would wander like the flashback reflections in a movie, thinking of old owners, coaches, teammates and stadiums from his career.

"Everything but locking in on the glove and throwing strikes," he said.

"I had full intention of coming in and pitching, I felt great, and last year had the rug kind of pulled out from under me when they said they would go with young guys and I understood," he said. "But watching the game, I felt I still belonged out there. So coming in this year -- having a million different things going through my head while on the mound, throwing a pitch and asking if I was even looking at the glove -- my focus was somewhere else. Focus is the hardest part and it wasn't there."

Wright said he was neither surprised nor shocked when manager Dave Roberts told him he wouldn't make the club. He said he was grateful that in his last outing, Saturday night, he didn't allow a run or hit.

He addressed teammates in a clubhouse meeting on Monday and headed home to Colorado for "Daddy duty," time with his "Hall of Fame wife" and "three beautiful children." He wouldn't rule out coaching because, after all "I got a Ph.D. in baseball."

He said he had no regrets about his career, because "everything I got I had to work really, really hard for." He is proud of making the difficult transition from starter to reliever and said he wished every fan and lover of the game could be as lucky as him, standing on the mound in front of 50,000 fans.

"It's something," he said, fighting back tears, "I loved it that much."

He predicted the Dodgers are in for a special season because of their new manager, "A man's man," he called him, and was sad he wouldn't get to play for Roberts.

But mostly Wright expressed how grateful he is for the career he's had.

"This is a pretty awesome day and I'm really thankful and blessed," he said. "One thing, for pitching for 10 different teams, I've got more friends than anybody and that's one of my greatest accomplishments."