Nine months ago, knuckle baller Steven Wright wasn’t sure he would make it to Tommy John’s surgery. The hill he was facing seemed too steep.
“I was probably on the fence and asked, ‘Am I doing this?
I don’tWright said on Monday after agreeing to a minor league contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates. “I’ve had a great career. “
In the field anyway. Off it was an entirely different matter.
The former All-Star knew his violations – a 15-game ban in 2018 for violating the League’s domestic violence policy and an 80-game ban in 2019 after testing positive for human growth hormone – Placing a very large asterisk next to his name whenever that was the case resulted.
“It’s not the way someone wants to go out” Wright said.
So Wright didn’t. He found a group in Nashville, Tennessee to work with all the advances he’s made in his personal life over the past few years. Suddenly he said that he was including therapy and trying to help other men like himself who were dealing with emotional problems. merged into advances in his professional life.
The right arm, which has baffled thugs for years, grew stronger. The pain in his left knee, which had served as a constant companion, disappeared. His confidence returned.
“I don’t want to look back in 15 or 20 years and say, ‘Damn it, I should have tried again'” Wright said.
In February he held a personal showcase for Boy Scouts. While it went well, his phone wasn’t exactly blown up with offers from teams trying to bring in a 36-year-old with three seasons who was no longer effective and is carrying a reasonable amount of self-inflicted baggage.
After all, the pirates got in touch thanks in part to Wright’s longstanding relationship with Pittsburgh general manager Ben Cherington, which dates back to Cherington’s long stint in Boston in various roles, including general manager.
Cherington is in the middle of an organization-wide overhaul. The Major League squad is in serious flux, and Wright’s versatility – he was both a rookie and helper during his seven-year career – and the uniqueness of his signature pitch could serve as the baseball equivalent of duct tape.
Wright credited the pirates with a “Very extensive job” review it and insist that it was transparent during the process.
“I gave them all the information because I wanted them to be comfortable knowing what happened, but I am not.” he said. “It’s a dark past, I’m definitely sorry, not just for myself, but for the baseball game and my family. But we’ve left that behind. “
What exactly is the way forward is unclear. Wright – who is between 24 and 16 years old and has a career of 3.89 ERA – says he feels great but has yet to discuss what kind of role he could take on if given the opportunity. With just under a week before the regular season starts, he may need to catch up quickly. He believes he is ready and insists that he is pain free and ready to go.
“Throwing bullpens doesn’t correlate that much with throwing hits (in) games, so a lot of it will be reps.” Wright said. “But so far I feel very good physically and mentally. I feel in a good place. Now there will be more repetitions and I’ll get into the games.”
Wright believes his ankle is best when tossing it in the low 70s. He can fall back and hit the low 80s with his fastball, but is aware that he is at the mercy of the way his peloton flutters. He’ll take his risk. The pirates will too.
“If I didn’t feel good, you wouldn’t see me here.” he said. “I wouldn’t have tried to get my signature. I wouldn’t have made the showcases. I wouldn’t even have picked up a ball. But i feel good I want to go out there and leave everything in the field. When that time comes – because it is there for everyone – I will not regret it. “
Further information: Tickets for the first two homestands in PNC Park will be available from Tuesday. The team expects a capacity of 25% for the games, around 7,800 fans per game. Pittsburgh’s home game will be against the Chicago Cubs on April 8th.
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