The Red Sox bullpen will be bolstered slightly with the addition of knuckleballer Steven Wright after officially completing his 80-game PED suspension. Back in December, Wright had tested positive for Growth Hormone Releasing Peptide 2 and his suspension became official after learning that his appeal was denied on March 6th.
The team announced on June 25th that Wright has officially been added back onto the 25-man roster. In order to make room for Wright, RHP Josh Smith was optioned back down to Triple-A Pawtucket. And in order for Wright to be placed back on the 40-man roster, Nathan Eovaldi was transferred to the 60-day IL.
In an interview with WEEI’s Rob Bradford, Wright opened up about his suspension, and what he expects as he makes his return, admitting that he is nervous.
In an excerpt from Bradford’s interview on the Bradfo Sho Podcast, he explained, “I’ve been looking forward to this day for a long time. I wouldn’t say I’m scared but there are a lot of nerves because there is a lot more that comes into this than, I’m going back to the big leagues to pitch. It’s not that simple. It’s not like I’m getting called up. I’m going back into a situation that I ruined for myself and so I have to go and try and make it better. The only way I can do that is go up there, do my best, hopefully, be successful and hopefully over time things can get back to as close to normal as they possibly can.”
This is Wright’s second suspension over the past two seasons following 2018’s 15-game ban for a domestic violence incident which took place in 2017.
In another injury-plagued season, Wright appeared in just 20 games–including four starts–during the club’s 2018 campaign and displayed signs of success. Over the course of his 20 appearances and 53.2 IP, his ERA finished off at 2.68 with a 1.25 WHIP and an opponents’ batting average of .210.
During a time of inconsistency in the Red Sox bullpen, the addition of Wright can’t hurt. Manager Alex Cora’s been forced to burn out his few reliable arms such as Matt Barnes and now that there’s another weapon who again, has had success in the organization, look for Wright to see plenty of action early.
Wright will be barred from participating in the 2019 postseason per the MLB’s rules regarding PED suspension which were added in 2014.