BOSTON — Steven Wright is getting a chance to move out of the bullpen.
Red Sox manager John Farrell announced before Sunday’s game against Arizona that the relief pitcher will make his first career big-league start Tuesday when the Red Sox play at the Astros. The knuckleballer has pitched well out of the bullpen this season for both Boston and Triple-A Pawtucket. In 32 1/3 innings for the PawSox in July, he had a 2.20 ERA and 1.25 WHIP. On Thursday, he pitched three shutout innings for Boston to earn a win against the Mariners.
Farrell said he made the move with his regular starting rotation in mind, citing that he would like to give each of them an extra day of rest during this upcoming cycle.
“It feels like a normality to me,” Wright told reporters of getting the spot start. “I haven’t really thought too much of it. It’s the same as if you’re coming in the fifth or sixth, just starting in the first inning. For me it’s a key to go out there and throw quality knuckleballs in the zone and hope for the best.”
Farrell said one key to Wright’s progression this season has been his delivery, saying the knuckler has lately looked like a “completely different pitcher” now than he did during spring training.
“Compared to what he was in spring training or what he was in spring training from a delivery standpoint, just repeating his release point, it’s much more consistent strikes,” Farrell said. “He’s starting to throw that knuckleball where he’s changing speeds on it, so to me in some ways he looks like a completely different pitcher from that night that he followed Aceves in that rain night against Oakland here [April 23].”
Wright said he’s looking forward to the opportunity, and even though it may be his first career start, he said his experience working out of the ‘pen should help him Tuesday.
“It’ll be fun. I’m excited for it,” Wright said. “I don’t feel nervous. I might be, it’s kind of hard to say right now. But I think coming out of the [bullpen] the couple of times I have I think will help calm my nerves a little bit. I’m just going to go out there and hopefully throw strikes.”