Red Sox Knuckleballer Steven Wright Suspended for 80 Games
Boston, MA– An already questionable Boston Red Sox bullpen just became a lot more uncertain as the Boston Red Sox have lost one of the league's only knuckleball pitchers (and their only one since Tim Wakefield's retirement) for 80 games of the upcoming 2019 season, which is one game shy of being half the season. Wright was suspended for testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs.
Wright has pitched in the role of starter in the past, but with a rotation that features Chris Sale, David Price, Nathan Eovaldi, Rick Porcello, and Eduardo Rodriguez, it seemed likely that Wright would be returning to the bullpen in 2019, as that is the role he filled for most of the games he played in 2018. Wright pitched in 20 games in 2018 and started just four of them, cementing his role as a strong arm out of the bullpen, but also with the potential to be a spot starter in case of injuries or some much needed rest.
Wright has had trouble getting going in past seasons due to injuries (previous seasons of All-Star potential flamed out after injuries as a pinch runner on the basepaths or general pitcher's arm injuries). But the most controversy for Wright came in December 2017 when he was arrested for domestic assault. The case was eventually dismissed. Wright has talent, but that's irrelevant when it comes to those who commit domestic violence. He's never had any sort of real momentum, and now his 2019 campaign has been cut in half with the news of Wright's 80 game suspension due to the use of performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs).
Wright claimed that he had no idea how the substance was in his body, but he accepted the suspension nonetheless after he was unable to prove that it was accidental and after a failed appeal of the suspension. Not many believe Wright on the claim of accidental exposure, as it is a common refrain among those who have tested positive for PEDs in the past. Fellow pitchers Sale and Porcello commented on the situation, with Sale remarking that the team will roll with the punches and Porcello saying that Wright owes the team an explanation. The Boston Red Sox commented on the suspension with disappointment, but acceptance and respect for the investigative committee's decision.