BRADENTON, Fla. -- Despite a late start to his spring, Red Sox knuckleballer Steven Wright is well ahead of where he wants to be for the regular season."I've felt good throughout the whole time," Wright said.Wright was limited early this spring by a shoulder injury that also cost him the
BRADENTON, Fla. -- Despite a late start to his spring, Red Sox knuckleballer Steven Wright is well ahead of where he wants to be for the regular season.
"I've felt good throughout the whole time," Wright said.
Wright was limited early this spring by a shoulder injury that also cost him the final month of the 2016 season. He didn't show any signs that his shoulder affected him in a 9-2 win against the Pirates at LECOM Park on Tuesday. Wright picked up his second win of the spring after throwing four innings of one-run ball. He allowed four hits and three walks while striking out two.
The 32-year-old said that it was almost a case of feeling too good out on the mound.
"It was definitely one of those times for me because I felt good and usually when I feel good I try to overthrow and that's what I was doing," Wright said.
Pirates third baseman Josh Harrison became just the fifth batter to reach base against Wright this spring after he dropped a single into shallow left field in the bottom of the first. Wright found himself in another jam in the second after walking John Jaso and Josh Bell and giving up a swinging bunt single to Phil Gosselin to load the bases before inducing consecutive ground balls to get out of the inning.
Wright was glad to be tested.
"I can take that into my next outing, because I didn't really have the laboring innings in my outings before," Wright said. "Obviously I would have liked to go five, six innings, but it's one of those things in Spring Training that you want to get everything out so you can feel so when it happens in season, you can kind of correct it."
In his three previous outings this spring, Wright had not allowed an earned run and just two hits in 9 2/3 innings. He finished the Grapefruit League season holding opponents to a .150 average with a 0.68 ERA.
"I know one thing, he feels good. He's executing his delivery and throwing strikes," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "He's given himself every opportunity to put up quality innings."
With the timeline for ace David Price's return to the rotation in question, the Red Sox will rely on Wright in the early part of the season. The knuckleballer was named to his first All-Star team after posting a 2.68 ERA in the first half in 2016.
When the rest of the team breaks camp on Thursday, Wright will remain in Fort Myers to throw a simulated game on Sunday in order to keep to his throwing schedule before taking the hill for Boston's fourth game of the season against the Tigers on April 7.
Scott Butherus is a contributor to MLB.com.