Jamey Wright starts 1st game since 2007

Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

Rays manager Joe Maddon made another managerial decision on Sunday that goes against conventional wisdom.

Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon made an interesting decision Sunday, choosing to start Jamey Wright in a pivotal game against the Oakland Athletics.

Wright's last start came in 2007, when he served as a swingman for the Texas Rangers. The veteran has made 54 appearances out of the bullpen for Tampa Bay this season, posting a 2.97 ERA over 57⅔ innings.

Maddon chose to start Wright over regular starter Roberto Hernandez because of the Athletics' lefty-heavy lineup. The manager hoped Tampa Bay would jump out to an early lead, then he could use the southpaws out his team's bullpen, including Alex Torres, Cesar Ramos and Wesley Wright, to close out the game.

If Wright struggled and the Rays fell behind, Maddon planned to simply replace Wright with Hernandez and let the starter pitch "mop-up," according to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. Wright appeared unfazed by the decision, telling Topkin, "I'm looking forward to it. No biggie. It's not like I'm going to go out there and go five, six innings or anything."

The 18-year veteran surrendered a leadoff homer to Coco Crisp, but escaped from a bases-loaded one-out jam later in the inning by forcing Alberto Callaspo to hit into a double play. Wright exited the game after 1⅔ innings, allowing one run on three hits. The Rays and Athletics were tied 1-1 when Wright left the game.

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