Steven Wright flutters his way into Red Sox bullpen
Steven Wright dazzling coaches
Eric D. Schabell Contributing Writer
There is nothing like getting into Fenway early, before the gates open to the public.
You have an almost empty ballpark, you wander down to the bullpen and take in the pitchers doing their bullpen sessions.
This week we caught up with a new addition to the bullpen this year called up from Triple-A this week, but he has been here before.
Steven Wright is a kunckleball pitcher.
What also makes this so special is that he is one of the two in MLB at the moment, the other being R.A. Dickey of the Blue Jays.
Signing for Dutch fans
Last Sunday the Red Sox were facing Dickey as we watched Wright in the Red Sox bullpen, his knuckleball was baffling both the pitching coach Juan Nieves and the bullpen catcher who kept missing them.
You have to understand the magic that is Steven Wright's kunckleball. The pitch starts at head-height and then drops into the dirt at the catchers feet as it covers the 60 feet 6 inches between mound and plate.
It moves so much that the bullpen catcher missed no less than 5 balls during his 20-25 pitch session. A normal session would result in zero balls being missed by the catcher.
It is absolutely stunning to watch it at speeds of 61 - 64 MPH, then be interchanged with fastballs at 88 MPH.
Last year he pitched four games, 13.1 innings and had a 2 - 0 record with a 5.40 ERA.
On this day he was brought into the game after 3 innings, when Ruby De La Rosa could not contain the Blue Jays.
Wright pitched a strong 5 innings holding the Blue Jays to no runs, allowing only 2 hits, a single walk and is boasting a 1.00 ERA.
Taking time to chat
He is fluttering his way into the hearts and minds of the fans too.
Not everyone is aware of who he is until he starts to throw.
The sound of 90+ MPH fastballs popping into the catchers mitt are replaced with soft plunking and gasps of surprise by the catchers as they try to nab the pitches with a special over-sized mitt.
He takes time to speak with the fans, to sign balls, sign hats and to chat about his outing against Dickey.
It is time for the Red Sox to seriously give this knuckleballer a chance in the rotation for 2015.
Eric is a contributing writer since 2013 and a true Overseas Fan of the Boston Red Sox living in the Netherlands. He's spent years on baseball fields around the world pitching. His weekends are now spent helping the next generations of pitchers to find their passion and love for the sport. More articles by Eric: https://www.redsoxlife.com/search/label/ericschabell