Red Sox

Steven Wright not expected to pitch in All-Star Game unless it goes extra innings

Steven Wright not expected to pitch in All-Star Game unless it goes extra innings

SAN DIEGO -- Steven Wright may not see the mound in baseball's 87th All-Star Game Tuesday night -- unless the game goes to extra innings.

That's the sense Wright gets talking with American League manager Ned Yost.

Wright hasn't pitched since last Wednesday, and is well rested. He could give the American League multiple innings if called upon and it's not unusual for All-Star managers to hold back one pitcher to provide insurance in case the game is tied.

"That's OK,'' said Wright, shrugging his shoulders. "I'm happy to be here.''

There are three catchers on the A.L. roster -- starter Salvador Perez of Kansas City and backups Matt Wieters and Oakland's Stephen Vogt.

"I don't think they've ever caught a knuckleball before,'' acknowledged Wright. "There's not much I can say (to them to help them prepare); I don't know how to catch it. I just know how to throw it. They're big league catchers. I feel like they'll be able to handle it. It's not as hard as people make it out to be. They just have to trust their hands, which they do -- that's why they're here.''

In talking to Red Sox catchers who have caught him, the lone bit of advice he could provide to his new battery-mates would be to let the ball come to them.

"Just let it get deep,'' said Wright. "Don't try to go get it. That's all I would tell them.''

Reminded that if he's called upon in extra innings, the potential could be there to help the Red Sox gain home field advantage in the post-season based on the All-Star Game result.

"That would be cool,'' he said. "To me, you just go out there with the same mindset of any other time you go out there and try to make quality pitches. You don't think about the what the circumstances are if you win or lose, because then it's going to affect the way you go about your job. If you're thinking about something you can't control (you're not going to succeed).

"So if that's the situation, I'm just going to go out there and attack the situation just like you do in the first inning.''

The National League doesn't currently have any knuckleball pitchers, so some hitters in the N.L. lineup might be facing that pitch for the first time. But Wright isn't sure that would be an advantage.

"They're big league hitters, All-Star hitters,'' said Wright. "Even if you they don't see (the pitch much), they're going to still go up there with a good approach. If you don't see it (often), it might be a little bit of an advantage, but they're the best of the best and they make adjustments just like everybody else does.

"For me, I don't think about who's hitting, I just think about what I can control.''

Sean McAdam can be followed on Twitter: @Sean_McAdam

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