February 2010

Wright signed to Minor League deal

Here’s another candidate for the bullpen: right-hander Jamey Wright.

The Indians signed the 35-year-old Wright to a Minor League contract with an invitation to camp. That’s now four veteran relievers brought in through Minors contracts, as Wright joins Jason Grilli, Saul Rivera and left-hander Mike Gosling.

Wright has pitched for six teams over the last 14 seasons, compiling an 82-115 record and 5.03 ERA in 420 games, including 246 starts. He went 3-5 with a 4.33 ERA for the Royals last year, leading the team with 65 appearances out of the bullpen. He logged a career-high 75 appearances for the Rangers in ’08.

The Indians now have 19 non-roster invitees coming to camp. Pitchers and catchers report in 12 days.

Better days are coming

We can, thankfully, put those Orlando Hudson rumors to bed. Grady Sizemore wants to put his “mug” shot picture issue to bed (though that didn’t stop an inappropriate female TV reporter from telling Grady, in the midst of his press availability yesterday, that the pictures were “pretty nice”).

So let’s look ahead. And what better way to look ahead than to inform you that on Monday morning, the annual rite of spring that is the equipment truck leaving for Progressive Field, bound for Goodyear, Ariz., is taking place. It won’t be long before this blog begins chronicling every piece of minutiae from spring camp, from the words and wisdom of Manny Acta to the minute-by-minute accounts of Niuman Romero’s progress.

I’m also passing along word that a dedicated group of Tribe fans will be holding their annual “Major League” party at Stampers Bar in Fairview Park on Sunday, Feb. 21, at 3 p.m. The classic comedy will be aired, and it will be a chance for fans to get together and talk about the looming 2010 season.

That's an invitation to make a reservation

Two more internal prospects have been given invitations to big league camp.

Right-handed relievers Josh Judy and Zach Putnam will be among the pitchers and catchers reporting to Goodyear, Ariz., by Feb. 21. That brings the number of internal invitees up to nine, and the total number of non-roster invitees up to 18.

Judy was a 34th-round selection out of the Indiana Institute of Technology in the 2007 Draft, but he pushed his way on to the Tribe’s radar with a stellar 2009 at Class A Kinston, Double-A Akron and in the Arizona Fall League. Judy was 4-3 with 11 saves in 36 games, including one start, for Akron, posting a 3.10 ERA, striking out 63 and walking 18 in 49 1/3 innings. Eastern League batters hit just .198 off him.

In the Arizona Fall League, Judy went 2-2 with a 1.59 ERA in 11 appearances, striking out 20 and waling eight in 17 innings.

Putnam, who was a fifth-round pick out of Michigan in the 2008 Draft, also began ’09 at Kinston before an early season promotion to Akron. Upon his arrival to the Aeros, he converted from starting to relief work. He went 4-2 with two saves and a 4.13 ERA, striking out 57 and walking 18 in 56 2/3 innings. At season’s end, Baseball Prospectus ranked him as the 11th-best prospect in the organization.

The 22-year-old Putnam also pitched for Peoria in the Arizona Fall League, and he went 0-1 with a 8.76 ERA in five starts.