Jamey Wright claims spot in bullpen

March, 26, 2012
3/26/12
9:18
PM PT
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Jamey Wright, the veteran right-hander who was trying to make an Opening Day roster as a non-roster invitee to spring training for the seventh consecutive year, appears to have succeeded in that endeavor, securing the final spot in the Dodgers bullpen to begin the season.

Wright said after Monday's Cactus League game, a 4-3 win over the Chicago White Sox, that general manager Ned Colletti had informed him in the morning that his contract would be purchased and that the move would become official once the paperwork was complete.

Meanwhile, another veteran reliever trying to make the club, left-hander Jon Grabow, exercised the out clause in his minor league contract and became a free agent after being told he wouldn't make the Opening Day roster.

"They informed my agent that I wouldn't be making the club and they wouldn't be putting me on the roster by (Friday),'' said Grabow, who made six appearances this spring and allowed no runs on four hits over six innings while striking out seven and walking one. "At that time, they went ahead and gave me my release. I'll just go from there and see if I can jump on with another team. This is all new to me, so we'll see what happens.''

Wright, 37, is a former first-round draft pick of the Colorado Rockies who has found his niche as a full-time reliever, to which he converted in 2007 after years of struggling as a starter, a role in which he went 69-101 with a 5.13 ERA. As a reliever, his career ERA (4.11) is more than a run better.

After posting a 3.16 ERA in 60 appearances for the Seattle Mariners last year -- including no runs allowed in his final 10 games -- Wright figured there would be a major league offer when he entered free agency in the fall, but once again, none ever came.

"It gets more stressful every year,'' he said of having to make a club every spring. "It's a lot of hard work. I have to come in and get ready to go and get ready for the season, all while trying to make a team too. That is kind of how I approached it.''

Barring an injury, Grabow's decision means the Dodgers will begin the season with only one left-hander, Scott Elbert, in their bullpen.

A 40-man roster spot will have to be cleared for Wright. That likely means reliever Blake Hawksworth, whose second elbow surgery just before the start of camp to clean out an infection resulting from the first one earlier in the winter is the reason there was a bullpen opening to begin with, will be placed on the 60-day disabled list. Hawksworth isn't expected to be sidelined that long, but he has had no spring training so he still will need to work his way back into regular-season pitching shape before he can be activated, meaning he probably won't be back until mid to late May anyway.

Tony Jackson

ESPNLosAngeles.com

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Yasiel Puig
BA HR RBI R
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OTHER LEADERS
HRA. Gonzalez 17
RBIA. Gonzalez 83
RY. Puig 69
OPSY. Puig .900
WC. Kershaw 15
ERAC. Kershaw 1.82
SOC. Kershaw 184