We sat down with Trenton Thunder Pitching Coach Scott Aldred for a Q&A session to find out what he…
Wright Feeling Stronger
"But if you look at the overall situation, coming back to a team that's winning and I played with a lot of these guys - I was excited to come back and work with Scotty [Aldred]. My first start here was not very good but I think we're getting back there."
After going 8-3 with a respectable 4.01 ERA with the Scranton Yankees, Wright was sent back down to Double-A Trenton to work on the inconsistencies in his mechanics and fastball command.
But when Tyler Clippard left a July 26th game in Reading in the third inning because of an injury, leaving the Trenton bullpen spent, Wright's struggles hit rock bottom when he took one for the team the following day after he was left in the game to give up ten earned runs in 4 1/3 innings in his first game back.
"I felt my arm was getting a little tired there for a bit because I know my velocity was way, way down in the first start here," Wright said, referring to throwing his fastball only in the 80-85 MPH range.
"[Then] it was like nine days before that next start. I think that had a little bit to do with it and just mechanically I was a little out of whack with my arm slot, but I think we're back on track."
Normally sitting 87-91 MPH with his fastball, Wright's decreased velocity in his first start back with Trenton just capped the many struggles he had been going through since his surprising call-up to the big leagues earlier in the year.
"It was really low," he continued to talk about his fastball velocity in that start against Reading. "It was kind of a gradual thing. There was no pain, just sort of a dead or weak feeling. It just got to that point."
"It's pretty bad when you're throwing at that speed. That's usually where my changeup's at, 80-82. There was something going on and the last few games, it's been back to normal so that's a good sign."
Finding more consistency in his arm slot recently and throwing his fastball more in his normal range, he has posted a 2.95 ERA in his last four starts with the Thunder, including Monday's suspended game with the Bowie Baysox.
"I'm feeling good," Wright admitted. "What we're doing in the training room and in the bullpens, I feel like I'm strong."
With just three weeks left in the season, he is finally turning around a season that has been filled with ups and downs, but yet he realizes he isn't there one-hundred percent stuff-wise.
"Yeah it's a curve/slider, or slurve," Wright said of developing a third pitch in his repertoire. "I've been working in the pen [bullpen sessions] a lot with it. That's what I've been working on because it's been more of just a show-me pitch this year."
"I haven't used it to get a strikeout or to get outs. It's more of a first pitch to just show them I have another pitch. The majority of my outs this year have come on the fastball or changeup. That's what I'm trying to get to, to use that third pitch to try and get outs."
Battling a dead arm and struggling with maintaining his arm slot which led to inconsistent command of his fastball, and unable to further develop a reliable third pitch this season, all while pitching at much higher levels, the fact is Wright is still a combined 13-5 this year.
"Even in Triple-A, I was only real sharp with all three pitches just a couple of times," Wright revealed, "so it was nice to see that, even though my numbers weren't great, I was getting wins. It was good to see I was able to get guys out at that level even without my best stuff and the same thing here."
"The only difference here is there aren't as many guys in the lineup that can make you pay like they do in Triple-A. It was nice to see that when I struggled a little bit I could still have a little bit of success."
Always the ideal optimist, he continues to care more about team success than his own personal statistics or struggles - he simply just wants to win.
"I just want to give the team a chance to win," he said of his goals for the remainder of the season. "I want to go deep into games, especially here, making a push for the playoff run. Wherever I'm at, I just want to help the team win a championship."
While he has collected a good amount of wins this season, he realizes his other numbers have not been stellar this year. Wright however takes the bad with the good.
"No, no way," he said if he would have traded in his experiences this season, "not at all. Going into the season, my goals were obviously to stay healthy and I figured if I put up good numbers here [in Double-A], maybe in August I could get a chance to get up to Scranton, maybe in September get a call-up [to the big leagues] if I'm pitching lights-out."
"There was no way I expected to be up in the bigs as early as I did and then go to Triple-A for as long as I did, and then back here. It was definitely unexpected, but I wouldn't have changed anything."
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