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After encouraging outing, Steven Wright expertly breaks down his secondary pitch: ‘It’s not very fast’

03.18.17 at 6:00 pm ET
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Steven Wright (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

Steven Wright (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Steven Wright looks the same as when he marched on to an All-Star appearance last season.

Making his second Grapefruit League start Saturday, the knuckleballer pitched three hitless innings against the Twins, and how not only allowed one baserunner in five frames. This time out he worked up to 41 pitches before going back down to the bullpen for another 14.

If all keeps going down this road, Wright figures to be in line to starter Game 4 of the regular season, in Detroit.

“It’s really encouraging to see him throw as many strikes as he did,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell. “He came back in some counts. He threw a 3-2 knuckleball in one scenario. Quietly he continues to build up the pitch count and the innings.”

Farrell added, “The biggest thing is to not be interrupted. Given where we are in the calendar, the number of opportunities left to build the pitch count, it’s critical for us to get them to the desired number, and that would be 85-90 by the time we break.”

Besides his obvious ability to throw the knuckleball, another facet of Wright’s game that has allowed for some separation is a harder-than-normal fastball for a pitcher of his type. Two seasons ago, for instance, he caught Seattle slugger Nelson Cruz looking on a 91 mph fastball.

Saturday, Wright’s heater was living at about 81-82 mph, a bit below where he typically throws it. It is a reality that he, A. acknowledges, and B. doesn’t seem all that concerned about.

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