DUNEDIN, Fla. -- No one has been a bigger influence on Steven Wright this spring than former Red Sox knuckleballer Tim Wakefield.Wakefield, one of the most successful knuckleballers in Major League history, has worked with Wright through the first few weeks of Spring Training, zoning in on his release point
DUNEDIN, Fla. -- No one has been a bigger influence on Steven Wright this spring than former Red Sox knuckleballer Tim Wakefield.
Wakefield, one of the most successful knuckleballers in Major League history, has worked with Wright through the first few weeks of Spring Training, zoning in on his release point and hand placement.
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That attention to detail was evident in Wright's outing on Friday against the Blue Jays, when he allowed three hits in four scoreless innings during Boston's 2-1, 10-inning loss.
"The fact that he takes the time to come down means a lot. He's been in baseball for 20 years and taking time away from his family is really humbling," Wright said. "It makes me want to learn even more. If it wasn't for him, I wouldn't be where I'm at now. It's small, minor adjustments, but it makes a huge impact."
Wright's knuckleball was dancing throughout the strike zone on Friday. He threw 55 pitches, 35 for strikes.
"Once I stayed back, I was able to accelerate through the ball, which helps me out," Wright said. "I've been working tirelessly to control my body and stay back. I still have work to do, but I felt really pleased."
Wright also mixed in a few curveballs, a pitch Red Sox manager John Farrell believes will help him succeed.
"He's always been a guy who can throw the ball over the plate. That's a talent in and of itself," Farrell said. "You see him continue to evolve as a knuckleball pitcher. With the addition of a curveball, it gives hitters an additional look."
If Eduardo Rodriguez, who is recovering from a dislocated kneecap, begins the season on the disabled list, Farrell said Wright is in the mix to take his spot in the rotation.
"When we sit down and talk about every guy in camp, it's all about just going out and pitching, forcing the hand and seeing what happens," said Farrell.
Quinn Roberts is a reporter for MLB.com.