Steven Wright not pitching yet, but Red Sox confident he's making progress

John Tomase
February 25, 2019 - 1:16 pm
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Spring training games have started, but Steven Wright remains on the sidelines.

The right-handed reliever, attempting a comeback from the same knee surgery that sidelined Dustin Pedroia for all but three games last year, is slowly working his way back into form.

"He's playing catch pretty much, building up," manager Alex Cora told reporters in Florida, including WEEI.com's Rob Bradford.

The difference between Wright and Pedroia, who also underwent cartilage restoration surgery, is that Wright actually performed at a high level when he took the field last year. He went 3-1 in 20 appearances (4 starts) with a 2.68 ERA over 53.2 innings before needing to shut it down.

The Red Sox are counting on him to provide length and quality to their bullpen, and his name has even been floated as an outside possibility to close, but none of that can happen until he takes the field.

"He's' pretty much where we thought he would be," president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said. "I'm not really taken aback at where he is at this time. In Steven's case, as is with Dustin's case, there is always going to be some concern until they get out there and they perform. But I'm not caught by surprise with either one of them. They're about where we anticipated. We'll just continue to monitor them."

Dombrowski is still operating on the assumption that Wright will contribute. He's not worried the knuckleballer will fall short of his prior form, which was good enough to earn him a surprise All-Star berth in 2016.

"Nobody has indicated that so far, but I guess we'll just have to wait and see," Dombrowski said. "People have felt that even last year, it was better for him to bounce back more quickly than it was to pitch with a lengthy time period. But until he gets out here and starts doing it, we'll wait and see. He has to be able to bounce back and pitch. That's the part of the job description. So the anticipation is that he will be able to do it once he's ready to go."

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