Don’t Count on Steven Wright in 2019
The Boston Red Sox bullpen is something of a mess entering Spring Training. The team lost Joe Kelly in the off-season, and it’s looking less and less likely that Craig Kimbrel will return to the bullpen. With options so bleak, some may be talking themselves into putting faith into knuckleballer Steven Wright. However, that faith is completely misplaced. According to the pitcher himself, Wright’s knee will never be back to 100%. The 34-year old reliever announced he’ll wear a knee brace throughout the season and will attempt to manage the pain, but it’s no guarantee that Wright can stay healthy for the entirety of 2019.
Steven Wright Still Bothered By Knee, Doesn’t Think He’ll “Ever” Feel 100%
It’s understandable why people might hope for the best with Wright, as the 34-year old is a surprisingly effective knuckleballer when healthy. Pitching in 53.2 innings, Wright finished the 2018 season with an impressive 2.68 ERA. He was even better as a reliever, pitching 29.2 innings to the tune of a 1.52 ERA.
Wright missed a sizable chunk of the 2018 season, but returned to the mound in September. Pitching in 13.2 innings of relief, Wright managed a 0.66 ERA heading into the postseason. With questions surrounding the bullpen, Wright appeared to be a key piece to a deep postseason run. However, that was not to be, as the Red Sox knuckleballer suffered a knee injury prior to Game One of the ALDS. Wright was placed on the disabled list and missed the entirety of the Red Sox World Series run.
None of this is to say that Wright won’t play a role on the 2019 Boston Red Sox. The righty is throwing at spring training and should be on the Opening Day roster, barring any setbacks. However, this is merely to cool down any expectations for Steven Wright in 2019. Wright initially injured his left knee back in 2017, forcing the knuckleballer to undergo a knee cartilage restoration procedure. This surgery is notoriously difficult to return from, as evidenced by Wright’s still-questionable health. If Wright’s able to contribute in any capacity during 2019, consider it an added bonus. However, don’t expect Wright to play a big role on the team, as his body simply isn’t up for that type of contribution.