Dodgers ink veteran reliever Wright, bring him into camp

41-year-old 'felt great' while throwing with Kershaw during offseason

February 24th, 2016

PHOENIX -- Having conquered pitching, Clayton Kershaw dabbled in scouting over the offseason, issuing a favorable report on 41-year-old right-hander Jamey Wright, who the Dodgers signed to a Minor League deal on Wednesday.

Kershaw was looking for a partner to play catch in Dallas over the offseason and recruited Wright, whose return throws were so lively that he decided to return to baseball. He sat out the 2015 season after being released by Texas at the end of Spring Training.

"He kept saying he felt great and the ball was coming out great," said Kershaw. "He felt it was definitely good enough to give it a shot. Not many people 41 are in the type of shape Jamey is, which is a testament to him. I'm happy he gets another shot at making the team."

So carpools and volleyball practices with the kids will have to wait for Wright, a first-round Draft pick of the Rockies in 1993 who will pitch in his 20th Major League season if he makes the club.

Wrightpitched for the Dodgers in 2012 and again in '14, mostly in a multiple-inning relief role, while starting one game in '14. Between those two stints, he played for the Rays when they were run by current Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman.

Wright said he felt he was pitching well last spring and was released "at the most inopportune time" -- the end of camp, when most clubs have set their rosters. He said he "felt great out of the chute" when his workouts with Kershaw began in December.

"He was throwing on a line and I was getting the ball back to him the same way he was, right on a line," said Wright. "I'm not saying I throw as hard as him, but at my age, to feel the way I do, I'm excited to be here. I'm not here to babysit, I'm here to make a team. I still have the desire to win a World Series."

Wright has made eight Major League clubs as a non-roster invitee. In addition to the Rockies and Dodgers, he has been with the Brewers, Cardinals, Royals, Giants, Rangers, Cubs, Indians, Mariners and Rays.

Wright figures to have an uphill battle to win a spot if the younger relievers are healthy. After closer Kenley Jansen, the Dodgers have Chris Hatcher, Joe Blanton, J.P. Howell and Luis Avilan to set up, with young pitchers Pedro Baez, Yimi Garcia and Carlos Frias all having factored in last season. Adam Liberatore, Josh Ravin and Ian Thomas are also on the 40-man roster.