The White Sox signed right-hander Mike Wright Jr. to a minor league contract, per an announcement from the team’s Triple-A affiliate, the Charlotte Knights. Wright actually started yesterday’s game for the Knights, tossing six innings of three-run ball while allowing three hits and two walks with one strikeout.
It’s the second ChiSox stint for Wright, who was with the South Siders in 2021 as well. He had a nice run with the Knights in 2021 when he pitched to a 3.40 ERA over the life of 95 1/3 innings, but Wright was tagged for 11 earned runs in 18 big league frames (5.50 ERA) with as many walks issued as strikeouts recorded (11 apiece).
Wright — who has also spent parts of five seasons with the Orioles, one with the Mariners and one with the Korea Baseball Organization’s NC Dinos — opened the 2022 season with the Dodgers’ Triple-A club after signing a minor league deal in Spring Training. He worked to a 4.46 ERA in 34 1/3 frames with their affiliate in Oklahoma City but posted a more concerning 13% walk rate against just a 16.9% strikeout rate. Overall, he’s pitched 276 big league innings but has just a 5.97 earned run average to his credit thus far.
Wright will give the Sox some needed depth after a series of injuries and some pronounced struggles from Dallas Keuchel have thinned out their starting depth in 2022. Lance Lynn has yet to pitch this season after undergoing spring knee surgery, though he’s on a rehab assignment and finally nearing his season debut. Vince Velasquez has struggled quite a bit himself and recently landed on the injured list owing to a groin strain. Keuchel, meanwhile, pitched himself off the roster entirely by logging a 7.88 ERA in 32 innings (eight starts). The Sox designated him for assignment and released him last week.
Lucas Giolito recently returned from the injured list, and the Sox have gotten a better-than-expected performance from former All-Star Johnny Cueto, who inked a minor league deal himself back in early April. Cueto blanked the Royals and the Yankees over six frames apiece in a pair of road outings to begin his White Sox tenure. He was tagged by the Cubs for five runs in his debut at Guaranteed Rate Field and has since tossed a quality start on the road against the Jays as well. Overall, he’s sporting a 2.92 ERA in 24 2/3 frames, cementing his place on the starting staff alongside Giolito, Dylan Cease, Michael Kopech and (barring any late setbacks) the soon-to-return Lynn.
Wright, then, will join rookie Davis Martin and fellow righty Jimmy Lambert as Triple-A depth. He’ll likely be behind that pair on the depth chart given that they’re already on the 40-man roster, but health issues and a slightly condensed 2022 schedule — thanks to the season’s late start — could create some opportunities for Wright down the line if he throws well in Charlotte.