Steven Richard Wright (born August 30, 1984), is an American professional baseball pitcher with the Boston Red Sox of Major League Baseball.
Amateur baseball career
Born in Torrance, California, Wright attended Valley View High School in Moreno Valley, California and the University of Hawaii before being drafted by the Cleveland Indians. While at Hawaii, Wright was named a second team All-American as a junior in 2006. He had an 11–2 record with a 2.30 ERA in 110 innings. In 2005, he won a Cape Cod Baseball League championship with the Orleans Cardinals under first-year manager Kelly Nicholson.
From 2007 to 2012, Wright played minor league baseball with the Lake County Captains, Kinston Indians, Akron Aeros, and Columbus Clippers, all affiliates of the Cleveland Indians. With the 2008 Akron Aeros, he pitched a career-high 75 1⁄3 innings.
Wright has a 90-mph fastball, but he turned to the knuckleball as his primary pitch in the 2011 season as a collective decision among Wright and the Indians.
Boston Red Sox
On July 31, 2012 Wright was dealt to the Boston Red Sox in exchange for Lars Anderson at the trade deadline.
After an injury to Red Sox relief pitcher Joel Hanrahan in April 2013, the Sox called Wright up to the big leagues. Wright's first major league experience was against the Indians, the team that traded him in 2012, but saw no action in the three-game series. On ESPN's Around the Horn, panelist Tim Cowlishaw during his first win on the show after the player had been recalled (21 August 2014), made note during his Face Time and subsequently began reciting various jokes from the writer and actor Steven Wright and was given an additional win for his impression of the actor.
On April 23, 2013, Wright was called into a game versus the Oakland Athletics to relieve Alfredo Aceves. The first batter he faced, Brandon Moss, hit into a double play. Wright was optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket after the game, in which he allowed five runs in 3.2 innings.
On July 11, 2013, Wright earned his first major league win vs Seattle. Wright pitched 5 2/3 shutout innings in relief of an ineffective Ryan Dempster. Koji Uehara picked up the save, but presented Wright with the ball following the victory. Wright also picked up win #2 against the Mariners, again in relief of Dempster. Wright's second victory was on August 1, 2013. The Red Sox trailed 7-2 entering the 9th inning, but staged a furious comeback to walk off with a win, 8-7, making Wright the winner.
On August 6, 2013, while pitching to Ryan Lavarnway in his first major league start, his knuckleball caused Lavarnway to tie a major league record with four passed balls in one inning. The record was set by Ray Katt of the New York Giants in 1954, catching knuckleballer Hoyt Wilhelm, and tied by Gino Petralli of the Texas Rangers in 1987, catching knuckleballer Charlie Hough.
Wright began the 2014 season with the AAA Pawtucket Red Sox, going 5-3 with a 2.76 ERA before being recalled to Boston on August 17, 2014. In six major league games with the Red Sox, Wright made one start, going 0-1 with a 2.57 ERA in 21 innings pitched.
During a game started on Friday, April 10, 2015 against the Yankees, after a tying home run by Chase Headley with one out remaining in the bottom of the 9th pushed the game into extra innings, Wright, the intended starter for Saturday, entered during the bottom of the 15th. Although yielding a tying run in each the 16th and 18th innings, Wright became the winning pitcher on record for 5 innings of relief in what would become the longest game yet played at the new Yankee Stadium, ending at 2:13am with a 6-5 score after six hours and 49 minutes (with an additional 16-minute delay due to a series of faulty stadium lights going out during the 12th inning). Later that morning, Wright was optioned to AAA Pawtucket to make room for the returning Joe Kelly. Wright finished the major league season with a 5-4 record, a 4.09 ERA, and 72.2 innings pitched.
On May 8, 2016, Wright pitched a complete game for the first time in his Major League career as the Red Sox won 5-1 over the Yankees. Wright gave up only 3 hits, struck out 7 and the lone run given up was a solo home run by Brett Gardner with 2 outs in the ninth inning. Wright earned his first All-Star game nod, going 9-5 before the game, recording the lowest ERA of any AL starting pitcher before the break. On August 14, 2016, he was placed on the 15-day disabled list with bursitis in his right shoulder. He ended the 2016 season with a 3.33 ERA.