Dodger Thoughts

Jon Weisman's outlet for dealing psychologically with the Los Angeles Dodgers, baseball and life

Tag: Jamey Wright

After 19 MLB seasons, Jamey Wright retires

Love this guy!

A post shared by Jamey Wright (@thejameywright) on

Rangers at Dodgers 7:05 p.m.
Kiké Hernandez, SS
Yasiel Puig, RF
Justin Turner, 3B
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Scott Van Slyke, LF
Austin Barnes, C
Joc Pederson, CF
Charlie Culberson, 2B
Alex Wood, P

By Jon Weisman

If it was a longshot for Jamey Wright to make a comeback with the Dodgers at age 41, what a sweet longshot it was.

Wright, who allowed 16 baserunners in 6 2/3 Cactus League innings, announced today that he was retiring from baseball, after 19 Major league seasons and nearly 23 years after signing his first professional contract. He had a chance to say goodbye to the sport with his eyes wide open.

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In case you missed it: Wright, De Leon don’t mind the gap

By Jon Weisman

Jamey Wright, born in 1974, pitched the fifth inning for the Dodgers today.

Jose De Leon, born in 1992, pitched the sixth inning for the Dodgers today.

As wide as that age gap was, both could feel pleased with their performances.

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At 41, Jamey Wright revels in his last chance

Los Angeles Dodgers Jamey Wright is introduced to the team

By Jon Weisman

Jamey Wright has a wife, a 12-year-old daughter and two boys — 7 and 9. Wright turned 41 in December, and he’s thrown more than 2,000 innings in the Major Leagues.

With family and Father Time beckoning, the time for Wright to hang up the cleats for good seems pretty obvious.

But it was that wife, and that daughter, and those two boys who told Wright he should try to extend his ballplaying dreams one year longer.

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Jamey Wright returns to Dodgers on minor-league deal

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Photos by Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Jamey Wright pitching in his most recent Major League game, on September 27, 2014.

Jamey Wright pitching in his most recent Major League game, on September 27, 2014.

By Jon Weisman

Jamey Wright, who turned 41 exactly one month ago and who hasn’t pitched in the Major Leagues since 2014, has signed a minor-league contract with the Dodgers and received a non-roster invitation to big-league Spring Training.

Wright has had two separate previous stints with the Dodgers, in 2012 (3.72 ERA, 1.51 WHIP, 7.2 K/9) and 2014 (4.35 ERA, 1.41 WHIP, 6.9 K/9). The 6-foot-6 right did not pitch professionally in 2015 after being cut by the Rangers in Spring Training.

July 3 marks the 20th anniversary of Wright’s MLB debut, which came for Colorado three years to the day after he signed with the Rockies, who drafted him in the first round (28th overall). Wright’s most recent MLB game came against the Rockies, on September 27, 2014.

He has pitched for 10 big-league teams: Colorado, Milwaukee, Kansas City, Texas, Seattle, Tampa Bay, San Francisco, St. Louis, Cleveland and the Dodgers.

Believe it or not, only four Dodgers have pitched in more games over the past four years than Wright’s 127: Kenley Jansen (262), J.P. Howell (200), Brandon League (149) and Ronald Belisario (145). Clayton Kershaw (126) can presumably tie Wright on Opening Day.

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Dodgers aim to end roadtrip the Wright way

Los Angeles Dodgers at Chicago Cubs

For more photos from Saturday, visit LA Photog Blog.

Dodgers at Cubs, 11:20 a.m.
Dee Gordon, 2B
Yasiel Puig, CF
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Matt Kemp, RF
Hanley Ramirez, SS
Carl Crawford, LF
Juan Uribe, 3B
A.J. Ellis, C
Jamey Wright, P

By Jon Weisman

Since becoming a full-time relief pitcher, Jamey Wright has made one start, with the Rays on September 1, 2013. As Eric Stephen of True Blue L.A. noted, the start came in part because of concern over Wright’s current Dodger teammate, Roberto Hernandez.

Today, Wright will start the Dodgers’ 2014 regular-season road finale at Wrigley Field, the capper of a week of extraordinary reliance on the bullpen.

Wright, who started 246 games from 1996-2007, has had three short outings this week of 16 pitches Monday, 10 pitches Tuesday and 12 pitches Friday. He has had two three-inning outings with the Dodgers this year, both in May and peaking when he won the second game of the Minnesota doubleheader that went extra innings on May 1. That game, which featured Red Patterson’s only big-league appearance, was about as close to a bullpen game as the Dodgers have come until this week’s non-stop reliever parade.

Dodger relievers, not unexpectedly, threw four more innings in Saturday’s bummer of an 8-7 loss to Chicago, giving them 29 2/3 in six days. Kenley Jansen and Yimi Garcia are the freshest heading into today’s game, though the only pitcher who might be unavailable after pitching two days in a row is J.P. Howell.

The home run that Howell allowed Saturday was his first in more than a year, since September 6, 2013, and third as a Dodger. Even after that blast, Howell has allowed only a .249 slugging percentage in his two years with Los Angeles.

Brian Wilson, who gave up the game-winning home run in the eighth inning, had pitched shutout ball without allowing an inherited runner to score in nine consecutive appearances dating back a month. Since the All-Star Break, Wilson hadn’t allowed a run or an inherited runner to score in 17 of 19 appearances, striking out 19 while allowing 16 baserunners in 15 1/3 innings.  I won’t pretend that Wilson has looked like a shutdown reliever in that stretch, but he hasn’t been a gascan either.

The difference Saturday, as Ken Gurnick of MLB.com noted, was that Dodger manager Don Mattingly hasn’t let Wilson face many lefties with power potential. Chris Coghlan had already homered once Saturday when he came up against Wilson.

(Mattingly) said he knows Wilson didn’t hit 90 mph with a pitch in this game, but Wilson indicated that he’s been a cutter pitcher all season after being unsuccessful early in the year when he occasionally amped up to the mid-90s. He said he didn’t locate the home run pitch, he’s not hurting and that velocity is not a correct barometer for his season.

“It’s what he’s been doing all year,” Mattingly said. “Nothing different than all year. Not trying to change anything, this is what we’ve been doing to get us here. Today it didn’t work out.”

Except that by the time Wilson had come in, Mattingly had used lefties Howell, Paco Rodriguez and Daniel Coulombe. Scott Elbert and his delicate arm were used Friday, so Wilson faced the left-handed-hitting Coghlan. Lefties are hitting 52 points higher than righties against Wilson, which is why Mattingly has been setting up with both when possible to avoid these kinds of vulnerable matchups.

Four hits for Puig, four RBI for Kemp, four wins in a row for Dodgers

[mlbvideo id=”34917175″ width=”550″ height=”308″ /]
By Jon Weisman

Yasiel Puig singled, doubled and tripled in his first three at-bats tonight, setting up Dodger fans, who have already seen two no-hitters this year, for a new piece of history.

Instead, the happy crowd settled for Vin Scully’s 2015 return, the first four-game winning streak of the Dodgers’ season and an expanded lead in the National League West.

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June 1 pregame: Notes, notes, everywhere

PIRATES VS DODGERS

Saturday’s Jon SooHoo photo highlights can be found at LA Photog Blog.

Pirates at Dodgers, 5:10 p.m.
Dee Gordon, 2B
Andre Ethier, CF
Yasiel Puig, RF
Hanley Ramirez, SS
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Matt Kemp, LF
Justin Turner, 3B
Drew Butera, C
Zack Greinke, P

By Jon Weisman

We’re going full notebook for today’s pregame report:

  • After their 12-2 victory Saturday over Pittsburgh, I had some fun looking up the Dodgers’ record when scoring at least 12 runs since moving to Los Angeles. They are now 182-4 in those games.
  • Hanley Ramirez, who homered twice in a game for the second time this season, had the first 4 4 4 5 line in Dodger history (since at least 1914) and 17th in MLB history. He’s the first to do it with a stolen base in National League history.
  • Jamey Wright had the Dodgers’ first three-inning save since Ramon Troncoso in April 2009, and the first save in a game decided by at least 10 runs since Matt Herges on September 10, 2000.
  • There has been one five-inning save in Dodger history, by Charlie Hough on August 14, 1970. In his shortest start of the decade, Don Sutton was knocked out of the game after retiring only one batter and being charged with five runs. Los Angeles rallied to take the lead with Fred Norman on the mound, setting him up for the win, and then Hough allowed four runs over five innings, facing 24 batters, to pick up the unusual S.

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May 2 pregame: Shutout relief is Wright on

LOS ANGELES DODGERS V ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS

Dodgers at Marlins, 4:10 p.m.
Dee Gordon, 2B
Yasiel Puig, RF
Hanley Ramirez, SS
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Andre Ethier, CF
Miguel Olivo, C
Carl Crawford, LF
Chone Figgins, 3B
Josh Beckett, P

By Jon Weisman

Unsung hero of the Dodgers’ Thursday nightcap victory — Jamey Wright.

The 39-year-old shut out Minnesota from the ninth inning through the 11th, scattering a single and a walk and lowering his 2014 ERA to 2.70. It was the longest stint of his Grover Cleveland-esque Dodger career.

The list of recent Dodger relievers who have thrown at least three shutout innings is an interesting one. Before Wright, Chris Withrow was the only Dodger to do it since 2010, when Jeff Weaver and Ronald Belisario did it in the same game. Weaver accomplished the feat four times in all in 2009.

The last time a Dodger pitched four innings of shutout relief was June 2, 2010, when Travis Schlichting did so in the game won by a Garret Anderson walkoff single in the 14th.

But the longest shutout relief stint in Dodger history was turned in by Orel Hershiser, who put zeroes on the scoreboard from the 14th inning through the 20th in the June 3, 1989 game at Houston, which ended in the 22nd with a two-strike, two-out single by Rafael Ramirez off third baseman-turned-relief pitcher Jeff Hamilton.

In case you missed it: Upside down, boy you turn me

By Jon Weisman

One week until it’s time for Dodger (Spring Training) baseball …

  • Injury updates on several Dodgers are provided by Eric Stephen of True Blue L.A. It could be a couple of weeks before we know more about Matt Kemp.

    … Kemp has had monthly MRI exams since having surgery to remove torn cartilage in his left ankle in October. Mattingly said the last exam was roughly two weeks ago, so we could have another two weeks or so before hearing anything new. …

  • More encouraging news — and a great quote — are coming from Josh Beckett and Dan Haren, according to Mark Saxon of ESPN LosAngeles.

    … “I said, ‘Did you ever dream you’d be watching a guy with a beard like Brian Wilson pitch with Sandy Koufax standing 10 feet from you?’” Beckett said. “Dan Haren’s like, ‘Yeah, it seems like there should be a unicorn somewhere.’” …

  • Since before the beginning of Spring Training, it’s been apparent that there might not be a full-time starter at second base come March 22. As Saxon and Stephen report, nothing has changed on that count.
  • Proclamation time:
  • “There’s no reason not to be confident” in Paco Rodriguez, despite the fact that he ran out of steam last fall, Don Mattingly told Ken Gurnick of MLB.comalong with Stephen.
  • In this Gurnick news feature about Don Mattingly, managers and long-term contracts comes this tidbit: “Jamey Wright has played for 29 managers in his 21 professional seasons.”
  • Yasiel Puig’s signing could have an impact for the Dodgers’ future international efforts, reports Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com.

    … “The way it works down there, [amateur] players come to tryouts at your camp, and we had a hard time getting players to come to the academy [in the Dominican Republic] until we signed Puig,” (Ned) Colletti said. “I was down there about three weeks ago or so, and it was probably the best group of players that I’ve seen. A lot of it has to do with our ability to spend, and we’ve increased our scouting internationally three-fold from where it was. We have the finances to be competitive with players from Cuba and amateurs in other countries. Puig was a very key sign for us in more ways than just his talent.”

  • Tommy Davis is the latest to be featured in Ernest Reyes’ 1961 Union Oil Family Booklet series at Blue Heaven.
  • Joe Morgan talked with Bill James? It’s more than 80 minutes (via Baseball Think Factory), but this I gotta hear. “A lot of you may not know him as well as I do,” Morgan said, “but he is the father of sabermetrics, so to speak, and a guy that I really have a lot of admiration for. I don’t agree with a lot of sabermetrics people, but I’ve rarely disagreed with Bill.”

Happy Hairston, Jazzy Jamey save Dodgers

Matt Kemp hit his seventh home run, but he’s not stealing the spotlight today. That goes to Jamey Wright and Jerry Hairston Jr.

Wright entered a one-run game in the seventh inning and struck out the first five batters he faced, before essentially turning the game over to Hairston.

The utility infielder, who has made an early case to be this year’s Jamey Carroll, made sensational plays in both the eighth and ninth innings to help the Dodgers hang on to a 4-3 victory at Milwaukee today.

In the eighth, with the tying run at third base, Hairston made a diving stop and from his knees threw out Alex Gonzalez. If a Dodger third baseman makes a better play this year, I’ll be surprised.

The next Brewers batter, Travis Ishikawa, led off the ninth with a bunt that Hairston barehanded to throw Ishikawa out.

Javy Guerra put the demons of Tuesday behind him, striking out the next two batters — giving Dodger relievers seven strikeouts in three innings — for the victory.

Kemp had a single to go with his home run, while Andre Ethier singled and doubled. Both players now sit at 18 RBI.

Juan Rivera had the Dodgers’ other RBI hit, while Matt Treanor had a sacrifice fly to go with a triple.

In his first game since striking out 13, including nine in a row, Aaron Harang went six innings and allowed three runs on nine baserunners with four strikeouts.

Wright has now faced 16 batters this season. They are 0 for 12 with four walks and six strikeouts.

Milwaukee’s Ryan Braun had the game-winning sacrifice fly Wednesday but otherwise went 0 for 11 against Los Angeles in the series.

Dodgers invest in 16-year-old pitcher

Did the most significant moment of this Dodger exhibition season involve a teenager?

Ken Gurnick of MLB.com reports that the Dodgers have signed 16-year-old Dominican pitcher Bryan Munoz for a bonus of $300,000. “The signing bonus is believed to be the largest the Dodgers have given a Dominican player since signing Joel Guzman for $2.25 million in 2001,” Gurnick writes. Hopefully, a sign of a rebirth of commitment to the international market.

Elsewhere …

  • Jamey Wright will soon be made official as a Dodger reliever, while John Grabow has exercised his opt-out clause. Eric Stephen of True Blue L.A. has details on that and more from today’s Dodger action.
  • Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles.com has still more on Jerry Sands and the possibility he was getting too much advice from coaches during Spring Training.
  • Is it the end of the line for former Dodgers Alex Cora and Joe Beimel? They were released by the Cardinals and by the Rangers, respectively.
  • Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com says there’s a buzz around town that Frank McCourt might go with the Magic Johnson-fronted ownership group even if it’s not the top financial offer, but also acknowledges that might be a naive sentiment.
  • Jim Caple of ESPN.com has a great list of 49 facts celebrating Jamie Moyer, none better than No. 1: “At 49 years and four months, Moyer not only is older than Robert Redford was when he played Roy Hobbs in “The Natural” (46 when filming began), he’s older than was Wilford Brimley (48 at start of filming), who portrayed old manager Pop Fisher.”

 

Scully wants to keep working


Above: Vin Scully talks in 2008 about meeting John Wooden.

Vin Scully has an interview in the March issue of Golf Digest (for now, I believe, it’s available only in print). Kevin Roderick of L.A. Observed links and excerpts:

Some people die twice: once when they retire, and again when they actually pass away. Fear of the first one is a big incentive for me to keep working. Players, writers, people who work at the ballpark and front office, when I quit I know I’ll never see them again. I’ve never been the type to come to the ballpark and hang out; I’ve gone to one game in the last 60 years that I wasn’t working. I keep working because I don’t want to lose my friends.

It’s an interesting passage, particularly for “when I quit I know I’ll never see them again,” since this would be up to Scully to a large extent. One could easily envision the kind of pilgrimages that John Wooden was the centerpiece of.

Roderick also notes this Scully quip about having bad teeth through the years: “if I were to write my autobiography — which I will never do, by the way — I would title it, ‘My Life in Dentistry.'”

Scully’s first Spring Training broadcast appearance will be March 17. Eric Stephen of breaks down the Dodger exhibition broadcast schedule at True Blue L.A.

Elsewhere …

  • TMZ has posted audio of a 911 call reporting James Loney’s freeway crash in November. No matter the legal disposition of the case, if you were there, it sounds like it must have been utterly frightening.
  • The Dodgers signed 37-year-old Jamey Wright to a minor-league deal. Wright hasn’t been a starting pticher since 2007, but his past season-and-a-half out of the Seattle bullpen was passable in a Mike MacDougal sense. Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles.com tweeted that Wright can opt out of his contract in late March.
  • Former Dodger shortstop Bill Russell can be seen with former Yankee counterpart Bucky Dent in this commercial (posted by Roberto Baly of Vin Scully Is My Homeboy), airing at 1981 World Series time, for Johnson & Johnson baby shampoo. Dent sounds a little like a grown-up Linus from A Charlie Brown Christmas.
  • Baly had a pleasant surprise when he went to the Dodger caravan Tuesday — he was there to see Clayton Kershaw as Kershaw’s new contract with the Dodgers was being announced.
  • Daily News writer Tom Hoffarth is auctioning an autographed copy of Kershaw’s book, “Arise,” at eBay, with 100 percent of the proceeds going to support Friends of St. Lawrence – Watts Youth Center, which empowers the children and families of Watts through educational, advocacy, and enrichment programs.
  • David Schoenfield of ESPN’s Sweet Spot looks at historical comparables for Kershaw. It starts on a downbeat note but gets more whammo after that. Schoenfield also invites you to an over-under game on Kershaw’s 2012 ERA here.
  • Evan Bladh passes along the story of Brooklyn Dodger batboy Charlie DiGiovanna at Opinion of Kingman’s Performance.
  • “What happened to the spitball?” Jonah Keri asks (and answers) at Grantland.
  • Today in Jon SooHoo: Mike Scioscia and Gary Carter together at Spring Training, February 1991.
  • Aaron Miles, who waited until this time last year to sign with the Dodgers, is waiting even longer for a 2012 contract this time around.
  • Not every baseball parking story has Frank McCourt’s name attached. “Fans of the New York Yankees may soon have to pay as much as $55 to park at Yankee Stadium thanks to the poor planning by New York City, the Yankees and a private firm that is running low on cash,” writes Rob Iracane at Big League Stew.

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