Veteran Wright joins Tribe's bullpen chase
Righty signs Minor League deal with invite to spring camp
CLEVELAND -- It's getting crowded in the Indians' bullpen picture. And competition can only be a good thing for a team that had the fourth-worst relief ERA in the big leagues last year.Another veteran possibility has been added to the picture in right-hander Jamey Wright. The Indians announced on Tuesday that they have signed Wright to a Minor League contract with an invitation to Spring Training.
With the 35-year-old Wright in the fold, this is where the Tribe's bullpen stands:Closer Kerry Wood, right-handers Chris Perez and Joe Smith and left-hander Rafael Perez are all assured jobs if healthy. Left-hander Tony Sipp would also appear to have a leg up on a spot, based on his 2009 results. The other relievers on the 40-man roster are Hector Ambriz, Jensen Lewis and Jess Todd. Lewis and Todd have Minor League options, but Ambriz is a Rule 5 pick who must either be kept on the Opening Day roster or offered back to the Arizona Diamondbacks. Out-of-options starters Mitch Talbot and Jeremy Sowers could also enter the bullpen mix if they don't land a job in the rotation. Wright is the fourth veteran reliever offered a non-roster invitation to camp. He joins right-handers Jason Grilli and Saul Rivera and left-hander Mike Gosling, all of whom will compete for a job. A veteran of 14 Major League seasons, Wright began his big league career in 1996 with the Rockies, who took him with their first-round pick in the 1993 Draft. He has since spent time with the Brewers, Cardinals, Royals, Giants and Rangers. Wright led the Royals with 65 relief appearances last year, going 3-5 with a 4.33 ERA, striking out 60 and walking 44 in 79 innings of work. The opposition batted .247 off him. His innings pitched were the seventh most in the American League. Wright made a career-high 75 appearances out of the Rangers' bullpen in 2008, tying for the third-most in the AL, and he posted an 8-7 record and 5.12 ERA. For his career, he is 82-115 with a 5.03 ERA in 420 games, including 246 starts. The Indians now have 19 non-roster invitees going to camp.
Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.