In spring training, Wesley Wright decided to make a change in his delivery, dropping his arm slot down near a sidearm delivery.
“I was just trying to see if it would benefit my career and see if it would help me get back to the big leagues,” Wright said.
Wright broke into the majors in 2008, when he saw time in 71 games for the Astros.
Since then, though, his big-league time had diminished greatly.
He pitched in 49 games in 2009 and 14 games last season for Houston while splitting time between the Astros and Triple-A Round Rock.
So before this year started, Wright worked with then-Houston pitching coach Brad Arnsberg to drop his arm slot and fight his way back to the Astros.
Recently, though, Wright decided to go back to throwing overhand and abandon the experiment.
“It just wasn't me,” Wright said. “I didn't feel comfortable and I was out there thinking too much.
“Now I'm able to go out there and focus on what I've been doing my whole life and that's just letting my natural athletic ability take over.”
The 26-year-old from Montgomery, Ala., said the experience wasn't a waste, though.
“It was something that I actually learned a lot from,” Wright said. “I learned the importance of working down in the zone and not allowing guys to elevate the baseball. If you keep it down, it's going to be harder for them to hit home runs and put better swings on the ball.”
Going into Saturday night's game against New Orleans, Wright was 1-0 with a 3.19 ERA and coming off his best outing of the season.
After scheduled starter Douglas Arguello was scratched just minutes before the scheduled start of a doubleheader against Albuquerque, Wright had less than 10 minutes to prepare for his first start of the season.
“At that point, it's pretty much just scrambling and trying to make sure you get loose,” Wright said.
Wright wound up throwing a season-high four innings, giving up just one hit and walking two as the RedHawks won the first game 2-0.
“When you're going four innings and you haven't been doing that, you just try to reserve as much as possible,” Wright said. “I tried to pitch mostly off my fastball and make guys put the ball in play and fortunately they hit a couple balls at people.”
Wright hopes he can build off the performance as hi goes back to his role in the bullpen.
“Confidence is the most important thing in this game and there's no doubt that that was a boost,” Wright said.
So was the sidearm experiment, even if it was a short-lived one.
“I really showed me that I didn't have to overthrow,” Wright said. “I've just got to put the ball in a great location and the results will be there.”