Notes: Wright 'ecstatic' to make team

Notes: Wright 'ecstatic' to make team

TUCSON, Ariz. -- Jamey Wright said when he heard he was officially named the Giants' fifth starter, he was driving his pregnant wife, Marnie, to the airport and got a call from pitching coach Dave Righetti on Monday.

"I started going like 150 miles an hour down Scottsdale Road, screaming my head off," he joked.

But it certainly wasn't a joke that the 31-year-old was overjoyed about clinching this coveted job, one he was essentially hired for during the offseason, one for which he had hoped to keep the faith he belonged in the Major Leagues.

The non-roster invitee pretty much blew away the competition in his Cactus League outings, not allowing a run over his nine initial frames until a strong 80-pitch, four-inning effort Tuesday in San Francisco's 6-6 tie against Colorado at Hi Corbett Field.

He gave up only two runs and fanned four Rockies, for whom he pitched the past two seasons.

"I'm excited, I'm just ecstatic to be a part of this team," said the 31-year-old Wright. "Now I get a chance to go to battle with these guys from day one, and I expect big things out of myself and this team.

"I felt great today and right where I wanted to be," said the seven-year veteran. "I stretched my pitch count up, the most I've thrown, and on three days' rest, I was surprised how good I feel. I felt I could have kept going."

Wright said what helped his spring was a discussion with catchers Mike Matheny and Todd Greene about four games ago to take a so-so slider out of his repertoire for now and go with a more consistent cut fastball.

That cutter works well on the outside corners against both righties and lefties, and Wright finds it finds the strike zone often.

Being dubbed the fifth man on an already strong rotation could be a turnaround for Wright's career, as the right-hander boasts great stuff, but has had location problems in the past.

"I have confidence now and I'm ready to go out and get the job done," said Wright.

spring training 2006
News and features:
• Giants Spring Training report:  350K
• Linden on fighting for a spot:  350K
• Morris retires Jeter, Griffey:  350K
Spring Training info: coverage  |  Schedule  |  Ballpark  |  Tickets

What about Benitez? Armando Benitez's left knee inflammation is over, but poor performances in two of his last three outings -- 16 hits and 15 runs over 2 2/3 innings -- means Benitez is no closer to being the Giants' closer.

The big man badly needed to rack up pitches, and he did with 52 throws Monday vs. Kansas City, but giving up five runs in the seventh and eighth seemed a bit counterproductive.

"It was a tough situation for everybody to be in [Monday] because [Benitez] needed the innings," said general manager Brian Sabean. "We actually toyed with the idea of having him do that over with the Minor Leaguers. He should still have enough time to get in enough innings.

"But it's going to have to be a crash course to get his mechanics straight and with that, get some guys out in the remaining games we have. The DL is not a possibility, at least not in my mind. I just checked with [trainer] Stan [Conte] and the man was fine [Monday], the knee is fine [Tuesday]."

Roster spots: With non-roster invitees Greene and Wright making the squad, it means two players on the 40-man roster must be cut.

It's a quandary, but outfielder Todd Linden expects to be traded and pitcher Kelyn Acosta could be placed on the 60-man disabled list.

"I'm not in favor of just taking somebody off, because he can be claimed," said Sabean. "Under the contractual obligation, we have to put Greene on [the roster] Wednesday, and on Jamey, I think it's Thursday. We might be able to buy a few days with their agents, but I'd still like to honor the agreements. When you add, you have to make a move. So, of course, we'll make a move."

Coming up: Right-hander Jason Schmidt (3-0, 2.00 ERA) makes his fifth spring start Wednesday in Phoenix at 12:05 p.m. PT against the Oakland A's. He'll oppose lefty Barry Zito (1-1, 5.40).

Rich Draper is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.