Coming off a 2015 campaign in which he posted a 6.04 ERA and walked nearly as many batters as he struck out (3.9 percent K-BB%), Mike Wright found himself slotted in as the Orioles' fourth starter to begin the year. Though he showed improvement in almost every facet of his game, he was still generally terrible and found himself demoted to Triple-A Norfolk by mid-June. The young righty bounced between Triple-A and the major leagues for the remainder of the season, logging nearly identical innings totals between each level. In 74.2 innings with the O's, Wright posted a 5.79 ERA, 15.2 percent strikeout rate and 7.9 percent walk rate. He fared much better at Norfolk, putting together a 3.07 ERA and a lower walk rate (4.6 percent) in 76.1 innings. Wright's first two years in the big leagues paint a bleak picture for his future outlook, as he doesn't figure to be a reliable MLB option anytime soon.
Wright was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk on Tuesday, the Baltimore Sun's Jon Meoli reports. This was the most likely scenario, as the Orioles don't necessarily need to break camp with a fifth stater in place of the injured Chris Tillman, given the way the schedule shakes out, and Wright wasn't even necessarily in the lead for that role. He will continue to work on a more over-the-top delivery at Triple-A, and could get a call as a spot starter later this season.
Wright has been working to adjust his arm slot to throw more over the top and create more break on his pitches, Roch Kubatko of MASN Sports reports. Wright's current arm slot is lower three-quarters which can sometimes lead to spinning the ball rather than getting the desired break on pitches. He is one of the remaining options to fill the shoes of starter Chris Tillman (shoulder) in the Opening Day rotation. The team prefers not to bounce the right-hander between the bullpen and the rotation like it has over the past two seasons. However, with major adjustments in the works, Wright could begin the year honing his adjustments at Triple-A Norfolk.
Wright is a candidate to temporarily replace Chris Tillman (shoulder) in the team's rotation to open 2017, SB Nation reports. Initial reports suggest Tillman won't be on the shelf long, but any opportunity is a good one for Wright, who struggled in 2016. The 27-year-old right-hander went 3-4 with a 5.79 ERA in 18 appearances (including 12 starts) during his sophomore season. He'll compete with Tyler Wilson and T.J. McFarland for the vacancy in the Orioles' rotation.
Wright was recalled from Triple-A Norfolk on Thursday, Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com reports. Wright has yet to find his groove with the Orioles this season. After pitching in 16 games, 12 of which were starts, he's built a poor 5.89 ERA and 1.46 WHIP. However, he's had better results with Norfolk where he owns an ERA and WHIP of 3.07 and 1.13, respectively.
Wright was optioned back to Triple-A Norfolk on Saturday. Wright's latest stint with the big league club was a brief one, lasting just three days. The right-hander will head back to Norfolk with the Orioles in need of outfield depth after Adam Jones suffered a strained hamstring Friday night. Taking Wright's spot on the roster will be Julio Borbon, who comes up from Double-A Bowie. Wright will likely return to Baltimore when rosters expand next month.