GLENDALE, Ariz. – It was supposed to be a simple game of catch. It ended up leading Jamey Wright back to a potential job with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Wright, who had no offers from clubs after getting cut at the end of spring training by the Texas Rangers last year, was sitting at home this winter when he got a seemingly innocuous phone call that completely changed his schedule.
“It was [Clayton] Kershaw saying, ‘I don’t have anybody to throw with,’ and I said, ‘I would love to,’” Wright said Wednesday, his first day in Dodgers camp after singing a minor league contract. “I told him, ‘If I don’t do it, after doing it at that time of the year since I was 18, I’ll probably go into depression.’”
It not only saved him from depression, it will give him another chance at making a big-league roster, with the ultimate goal of winning a World Series. Wright had his agent call teams and the Dodgers liked what they saw. It didn’t hurt that Kershaw had been singing Wright’s praises as well.
“He said he felt great and the ball kept coming out great,” Kershaw said of the throwing sessions. “I don’t know when he made the decision that he wanted to give it another go, but it was definitely good enough for him to give it a shot.”
Wright, a 19-year major league veteran, has pitched with 10 teams, including two separate stints with the Dodgers. In fact, the Dodgers uniform is the last one he wore in during a regular season game, going 5-4 with a 4.35 ERA during 61 games in 2014.
He has won 97 games with a 4.81 ERA over 719 appearances during a career that began in 1996 with the Colorado Rockies. His odds of making the club remain long, but he can credit his most recent chance to his willingness to help out an old friend.
“It was just playing catch and you can see him throwing it on a line and I’m getting it right back to him just the same way that he is to me,” Wright said. “Not to say that my velocity has jumped 10 mph or anything like that.”
It took off from there, with Wright saying his arm never felt so good at that point of the winter.
The 41-year old said he had settled into being a dad last year, so he felt obligated to clear this latest opportunity with his kids. He got their full blessing.
“I was ready to go last year [with the Rangers], so we’ll see,” he said. “I’m not here to babysit or do any of that; I’m here to try and make the team. I still have the desire to win a World Series. That’s why I’m here.”