Wright eager to take his hacks
Astros relievers slated for rare batting practice
HOUSTON -- Astros relievers are taking batting practice Friday for the first, and quite possibly last, time this season, and for some, this will be an event of epic proportions.
Limited to boring bunting practice, the bullpen is looking forward to taking some real hacks, like its starting pitching counterparts. Wesley Wright, for one, can't wait to step in the cage. He's already chirping about it in the clubhouse, sending some well-meaning but pointed trash talk in the direction of Michael Bourn and Brandon Backe.
"I'm hoping I can get one in the Crawford Boxes, at least," said Wright, a right-handed hitter.
Wright ranks his upcoming batting-practice session as a sure-fire highlight of his career so far, which sounds about right, coming from a rookie.
"We don't get to do this," he said. "This will be the first time I get to hit at a Major League stadium, and I'm kind of excited."
Wright hasn't had much time with the bat since his professional career started, but he fancied himself a pretty good hitter as a high school center fielder.
"I was small, so I really wasn't going to be a hitter," he said. "My arm outgrew my body, so I wasn't looked at as a hitter. But I could hit."
Wright is hoping he recaptures some of that Goshen High School magic Friday. He's already made a friendly wager with his good friend, Bourn: "However many home runs I hit during BP, Mike's got to double it in his round," Wright said.
Wright's enthusiasm has grabbed the attention of another position-player-turned pitcher, Backe, who has always prided himself on his prowess with the bat.
And quite frankly, Backe's not expecting much from his teammate.
"He thinks he has more pop than me," Backe said. "I've had plenty of my time up on the train tracks, so he's going to have to show me something. He might get one into the Crawford Boxes, that's about it. One out of 20 swings in the Crawford Boxes. I'm just telling it like it is."
Alyson Footer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.