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Wright rejoins Red Sox in a relief role

Knuckleballer last pitched for Boston in regular season in April 2017
MLB.com @IanMBrowne

BOSTON -- Back from his 15-game suspension and healthy again following extensive surgery on his right knee, Steven Wright rejoined the Red Sox on Monday as a reliever.

In a corresponding roster move, righty Hector Velazquez was placed on the 10-day disabled list with a lower back strain.

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BOSTON -- Back from his 15-game suspension and healthy again following extensive surgery on his right knee, Steven Wright rejoined the Red Sox on Monday as a reliever.

In a corresponding roster move, righty Hector Velazquez was placed on the 10-day disabled list with a lower back strain.

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Wright last pitched for Boston in a regular-season game on April 29, 2017.

"Definitely feels good to finally be back -- it's been over a year," said Wright. "So it's something I've been looking forward to pretty much ever since I hurt my shoulder, then obviously it got worse with the knee. It's tough being down in Florida without being around the guys, but I was able to use it as a time to really concentrate on being healthy. I feel pretty good, and I'm happy to be back."

Though Wright is more accustomed to starting, manager Alex Cora thinks the knuckleballer will provide value as a reliever.

"Talking to the catchers, they're comfortable with him coming in in the middle of the game, so that's important," Cora said. "Having a knuckleballer coming in in the middle of a game is not something everybody has, but for everything I've heard and I've seen in the past, when he's good, he's really good. So he can be a game-changer.

"If you have a guy throwing 97, 98 [mph] early in the game, you bring a knuckleballer in the middle of the game, and I don't know how much it's going to affect the opposition, but it'll be interesting. Obviously, he's healthy, he's here, and he's a big part of what we're trying to accomplish."

Wright rejoins a team that entered Monday tied with the Yankees for the best record in baseball, at 28-12.

"They've been amazing, fun to watch," Wright said. "I can't wait to come here and try not to screw anything up, just try to help them out as much as I can and just go out there and try to throw strikes."

Wright proved what he was capable of in 2016, when he was in top form and an All-Star. He also demonstrated success as a reliever for the Red Sox, going 4-0 with a 3.88 ERA in 15 appearances from 2013-15.

"I do know that he induces guys to weak contact and bad swings when that thing is right," Cora said. "He's a different one, too. [His knuckleball is] hard. So we'll see how it goes."

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.

Boston Red Sox, Steven Wright