MANCHESTER, N.H. – The knuckleball has been on the shelf all spring. But it showed plenty of life Monday, as Steven Wright got back on the mound.
Wright made his first rehab appearance, pitching for the Portland Sea Dogs against New Hampshire. He gave up five hits and three runs (two earned) Monday afternoon in Portland’s 6-3 win.
Wright had control of his knuckleball, walking one, and throwing 46 of his 65 pitches for strikes.
“I felt better than I thought I would,” Wright said. “I threw a lot of quality knuckleballs.
“Overall really happy with how the knuckleball is coming out in my first outing.”
Wright, 29, in his second season on Boston’s 40-man roster, had been shelved since spring training with a strain in the groin area (commonly referred to as a “sports hernia”).
It was fitting that Wright’s first game back was with the team he initially joined the Red Sox organization with. Wright was pitching for the Indians-affiliated Akron Aeros at Hadlock Field in 2012, when he learned he was traded to the Red Sox for first baseman Lars Anderson. He simply moved from one clubhouse to the other.
Wright pitched one game for the Sea Dogs before moving to Pawtucket. Last year, he stayed with Pawtucket, except for four outings (one start) with Boston (2-0, 5.40 ERA).
This year did not begin as he planned. Wright hoped the injury would improve with rest, but eventually he needed surgery. The recovery took a frustratingly long time.
“I felt fine throwing, but I wouldn’t have been able to field a ball (until recently),” Wright said.
Wright is headed to Pawtucket to throw before his next start. That could be with Pawtucket, or back with the Sea Dogs, who have a doubleheader in Trenton on Saturday.
Wright will likely land back in the Pawtucket rotation. But he is officially on a major league rehab and followed the tradition of providing the postgame meal. Thus, the Sea Dogs feasted on Chipotle.
LOOKS LIKE STEPHEN DREW will bypass the Sea Dogs. Drew, the shortstop who just re-signed with the Red Sox, has been playing with Boston’s low Class A affiliate, the Greenville Drive. According to media reports out of Atlanta, where Boston is playing, Drew’s next destination is Pawtucket.
SPEAKING OF LARS Anderson, the former Sea Dogs first baseman is in Triple-A with the Chicago Cubs’ organization. Anderson was batting .254 in 26 games before going on the disabled list with recurring dizziness two weeks ago.
THE SEA DOGS IMPROVED to 34-16, which is the best record of any team in the majors, Triple-A or Double-A.
The Sea Dogs return to Hadlock Field on Tuesday through Thursday for a quick, three-game homestand against New Britain. Thursday’s game starts at 11 a.m.
TRAVIS SHAW IS another prospect who played first base at Hadlock Field. Now he is an ex-Sea Dogs infielder.
Shaw, 24, was promoted to Triple-A, packing up his gear in Manchester on Monday morning.
Shaw, who first reached Portland at the end of the 2012 season, was batting .305 this year, with 11 home runs, 37 RBI and a .406 on-base percentage.
CAN WE CALL MOOKIE Betts a former Sea Dogs infielder, now that he is spending the majority of his time in center field? Since his debut in center on May 18, Betts has played the outfield seven times.
“I feel like I’m fully comfortable out there,” Betts said. “Now it’s just a matter of repetitions.”
Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6413 or at: