Wright no stranger to Oklahoma City
Rangers reliever returns home for Friday's exhibition game
OKLAHOMA CITY -- While some of his teammates had never traveled through Oklahoma City, there was no confusion for Texas Rangers pitcher Jamey Wright.
No confusion, just familiarity for the Rangers' Friday night exhibition game against the Chicago White Sox at the AT&T Bricktown Ballpark.
Wright graduated from Westmoore High School, located just outside of Oklahoma City. His offseason home is in southern Oklahoma City.
"It's always cool to come back," Wright said. "Oklahoma, as a state, has a lot to be proud of. From how nice this park is to how great the Ford Center is, it's great to see."
The Ford Center could be the potential home for the NBA franchise, the Seattle Sonics.
When the Rangers arrived on Friday, Wright made a quick trip home.
"I stayed for about an hour," Wright said. "It would have been nice to stay a little longer, but I was glad I got that little time in."
While Wright was comfortable in his old stomping grounds, the same could not be said as he headed into Spring Training. A starter for most of his first 11 Major League seasons, Wright is starting the season in the bullpen for the first time.
"There were subtle little changes I had to make," Wright said. "The biggest was working on my throwing. You know, as a starter, you try to work your way up, so when spring is over, you can throw about 100 pitches. I can't do that anymore. Now it's all about making the pitches count."
But after his first spring as a reliever, Wright said he is happy with his progress, and his numbers back that up. In 11 2/3 innings pitched over seven appearances, Wright has posted a 2.31 ERA and converted both of his save opportunities.
"Jamey can help bring some stability to our bullpen," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "He's made a very nice transition."
Wright pitched a scoreless second inning with one strikeout in Friday's contest.
Former Oklahoma RedHawk Jason Botts also received a warm reception. Botts was a star for the Triple-A club before getting the callup to the Rangers late last year.
"This place is always going to be special to me," Botts said. "This is where I got my start. There's a unique relationship that is formed when something like that happens."
Botts did not start in Friday's game, but is hitting .319 in 23 Spring Training games.
Bob Przybylo is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.