Knuckleball Pitcher Steven Wright Is Back In Play

Several days ago we were seeing reports that good news was coming for knuckleballer Steven Wright, who had been away from the mound for several weeks because of trouble with his knee.

Red Sox right-hander Steven Wright is expected to come off the disabled list and join the team Saturday, manager Alex Cora said….

“Steven is good,” Cora said. “He felt fine. We’re thinking about what we’re gonna do tomorrow. I don’t know if he’ll pitch or if we’ll just wait and see how he goes. Like an aggressive bullpen and then be ready for September.”

Then, on September 1, the good news arrived: he’s off the disabled list. According to CBSSports.com:

Wright wound up missing a little more than two months with a knee injury, but he’s ready to rejoin the Red Sox after getting through a simulated game with no issues Friday. The veteran southpaw [well, he’s right-handed…] will start out in a lower-leverage relief role, but manager Alex Cora said he won’t be afraid to use Wright in high-leverage situations once he gets a few successful appearances under his belt.

BoSoxInjection’s Sean Penney expects that Wright “could be effective as a long reliever,” and perhaps be especially disruptive when showing up in the middle of a game.

He’s capable of logging multiple innings out of the bullpen and his knuckleball style allows him to bounce back on short notice when necessary. He can also throw teams off by giving them a drastically different look in the middle of a game, as opposed to giving teams a chance to prepare for the knuckleball if he’s starting.

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Slow Motion Knuckleball Balance

Throw knuckleballs, not meatballs, by paying attention to your whole body, says IKA’s Chris Nowlin at Knuckleball Nation.

How you release the ball “is just a small part of what makes a good knuckleball,” Chris argues. It is “the very last part of the kinetic chain.”

But if the chain breaks at any point before the release, the ball will likely spin. You’ll be serving up meatball instead of throwing butterflies.

It’s imperative that you deconstruct your pitching mechanics from the ground up. Your arm is attached to your body. It goes where your body goes. If your body isn’t in the right position, then your arm will not be able to throw a quality knuckleball….

You need to master every movement, from how your front foot lands on the dirt to keeping your head balanced in three dimensions, in order to become a consistently nasty knuckleball pitcher.

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Hoyt Wilhelm (1922-2002) must have mastered every movement. The caption of a Knuckleball Nation‒sponsored YouTube video of Wilhelm’s appearances in the 1954 World Series describes the Hall of Famer as “the greatest knuckleballer of all time.”

The Baseball Hall of Fame site quotes Wilhelm on how it happened: “I got to messing with the [knuckleball] in high school,” said “the first reliever ever enshrined” in the Hall of Fame. “I started to see that the ball was doing something. I figured it was my only ticket to the big leagues, ’cause I couldn’t throw hard, and I knew if I was going to play ball, I’d have to make it some other way.”

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