Among the list of activities for Yankees pitchers yesterday was a drill designed to improve reaction time to line drives.
So it figures that when Jaret Wright took his turn, the hard-luck righthander nearly was smacked with a liner out of the machine. It whizzed between his glove and head. "And I just wanted to show people I could really catch it," Wright said.
Said Joe Torre, "Everything is aimed at Jaret Wright."
The near-mishap was a reminder of how tough his 2005 season was. After coming back from yet another injury to his right shoulder, he pitched well before getting hit with two line drives and a broken bat in the span of a month.
The Yankees have always done this sort of drill, but in previous years, Mel Stottlemyre hit line drives at the pitchers with a bat. Now they are using a machine that shoots softer balls at pitchers standing about 50 feet away.
Wright took solace in that he finished the drill without getting hit, then noted that his luck changed for the better during the offseason.
"Nothing came at me going 110," he said, "so that's good."
"And I just wanted to show people I could really catch it..." Poor man. Why can't this kind of thing happen to people who really deserve it, like Alex Rodriguez?