Despite spring struggles, Wright never lost faith

Despite spring struggles, Wright never lost faith

BOSTON -- Jamey Wright never seemed worried during Spring Training that his sinker would be ready by Opening Day, despite posting a 7.36 ERA in 10 Grapefruit League outings. In four appearances this season, he's yet to allow a run over 4 1/3 frames.

"I feel good, I feel strong and I knew I would once it was for real and the adrenalin comes and all that good stuff," said Wright. "I'm still not exactly where I want to be. When I feel the best, I feel like I can go out there and throw nothing but sinkers and have success. I'm not there yet, but it's coming, getting a few outs with it.

"[The sinker is] a pitch where I get ahead in the count and get ground balls, or foul balls, or takes. In Spring Training, it wasn't doing what I wanted it to. It was ball one, ball two and I'm behind in the count. So now it's coming along a little better."

While Wright believed all along that the sinker would arrive, he experienced a sense of relief once it did.

"No doubt about it, yeah," Wright said. "I don't walk off the mound all mad after giving up home runs. I gave up ... four home runs on four sinkers [in Spring Training], and that just doesn't happen. I just sat there scratching my head."

Wright said his spring problem stemmed from a mechanical flaw in his delivery.

"I didn't see a lot of video from the spring, so I didn't know how to correct it," Wright said. "I was trying everything I could. ... The first game I threw during the regular season, I went in there and watched the video, and I'm like, 'Huh, OK, that's weird. Why am I doing that?' But it's real minor and it's not a big adjustment, but if you've been practicing it a certain way all spring, you kind of get used to throwing that way. Tough to get it back."

The veteran of 18 Major League seasons obviously has more seasons behind him than in front of him, so he was asked if he has ever worried that the sinker wouldn't come back once the season started.

"I remember going into Spring Training with Seattle a couple of years ago and I thought, 'If I don't make this team, then I think I'm OK with it. I'll be fine with it,'" Wright said. "Then I think I went out there and threw like 12 innings in the spring, gave up like four or five hits. I just kind of let go. I had the best spring I've ever had, had a great year, had a great year last year. I'm as good now as I've ever been, so that kind of creeps into the back of my mind, too. If I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing out there and having success, I want to keep playing. The main thing is to get a chance to pitch in the playoffs."

Even though Wright struggled in Spring Training, manager Joe Maddon wasn't worried.

"He was doing some things differently from the past in his delivery, and it made all the sense in the world," Maddon said. "He's getting back on top of the ball better. Breaking ball easily how much better it was the last time from the side, the sink, all the stuff. The velocity's been really good. We just need the sink. We need the ball on the ground, and I know he's feeling better about it. So I feel confident."

Bill Chastain is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.