Rule 5 southpaw has all the Wright stuff
Reliever's five straight shutout outings help his case for April
KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Manager Cecil Cooper won't come out and say definitively that Wesley Wright will be one of the 25 men on the Opening Day roster, but it's safe to speculate that barring a major disaster, the Rule 5 left-hander can keep his bags packed for Opening Day in San Diego when the team heads to Houston on Thursday.
Wright made another convincing case for himself against the Reds on Saturday at Osceola County Stadium, retiring the side in the sixth inning with one strikeout. The left-hander hasn't allowed a run in his past five outings.
Even the umpires have noticed Wright's emerging talent. When the sixth inning ended, home plate umpire Laz Diaz said to manager Cecil Cooper, "Hey man, that's a lively arm."
Cooper complimented Wright for his poise and the respectful manner with which he carries himself in the clubhouse, but he also chuckled when he recalled an incident with his pitching protégé during a recent batting practice.
"Yesterday, I'm talking to him and trying to give him a bit of wisdom, just talking to him behind the screen in the outfield while we're taking batting practice," Cooper said. "And he just up and walks away from me. Just leaves."
Apparently, Wright's teammates were yelling at him to join them in running drills.
"I said, 'You're not supposed to leave and go run, if I'm talking to you, you stand there and talk to me until it's over with,'" Cooper said with a grin. "If my boss was talking to me, I'd be kind of lending an ear, you know? He blew me right off."
Joking aside, Cooper is clearly pulling for the 23-year-old Wright to finish the spring season on a high note.
"He's a nice young man and I'm happy to see him do as well as he's done," Cooper said. "Like he says, I won't pinch him, I won't wake him up. He's just going to keep going out there. He's living a dream. He's been very impressive. Hopefully it carries over."
Alyson Footer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.