BOSTON (CBS) — With Clay Buchholz traded away and with David Price still a few feet short of turning the corner on his elbow scare, the Red Sox are likely going to need Steven Wright out of the gate this season.

And though the knuckleballer was eased into a workload this spring, he made a promising debut in game action on Monday afternoon.

Wright got the start for the Sox against the Blue Jays in Dunedin, Fla., and he posted zeroes across the board. In two innings of work, Wright allowed no hits, no walks and no runs. Only one runner reached base, but that came on an error by shortstop Brock Holt.

Wright had not pitched in a game since last August, after he suffered a shoulder injury while pinch running during an interleague game in Los Angeles.

“I felt pretty good. I felt like I was able to stay under control,” Wright said after the start, per the Boston Herald. “A lot of it has to do with the training staff and the work they’ve done to help me get my shoulder strong.”

As it stands now, the Red Sox have six MLB-ready starting pitchers, with Wright, Price, Chris Sale, Rick Porcello, Eduardo Rodriguez and Drew Pomeranz on the roster. But as Price’s elbow scare this spring showed, comfort at the starting pitching position can change quickly.

The 32-year-old knuckleballer was a first-time All-Star last season, as he went 13-5 with a 3.01 ERA and a 1.193 WHIP through Aug. 5. He made two starts after suffering the injury at the start of August, but he allowed nine earned runs over 10 innings. He was unable to return in September or in October.

“It felt good to finally get back out there in a game situation,” Wright said, according to the Herald. “I’m pleased with the outcome, but I’m more pleased with how I felt.”

 

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