PHOENIX — In each of the last eight years, Jamey Wright reported to spring training on a minor league contract. All eight times, he made a major league opening-day roster.
Now, at 39, Wright has broken the cycle. The right-handed reliever has a guaranteed contract with the Dodgers.
"Christmas miracle," Wright said. "Supply and demand, I guess."
The last time Wright was in camp with the Dodgers, in 2012, he had no guarantees he would make the team. He faced the possibility of having to decide whether to pitch in the minor leagues or re-enter the free-agent market.
The absence of that uncertainty made for a more pleasant off-season. Wright, who had 3.06 earned-run average in 66 appearances with the Tampa Bay Rays last year, landed a one-year, $1.8-million deal with the Dodgers.
The security made Wright feel as if he was a better father to his three children. Unlike previous off-seasons, his mind wouldn't wander as much when he was in their company.
"That stress wasn't there," he said.
When Wright wasn't spending time with his children, he was often throwing with Clayton Kershaw, who also makes his off-season home in the Dallas area.
"We live less than a mile apart," Wright said.
Wright has pitched for 10 teams over 18 major league seasons, with one of the benefits being that he has played with several of the relievers with whom he will share the bullpen. Wright pitched with Brian Wilson in San Francisco, Brandon League in Seattle and Chris Perez in Cleveland.
First intrasquad game is in the books
In a four-inning intrasquad game Sunday, Yasiel Puig looked a lot like the player he was last season.
Puig stretched a first-inning single against Matt Magill into a double. Later in the inning, he scored from second base when Hanley Ramirez made an error on a grounder by Scott Van Slyke.
Puig's Team Koufax lost, 3-1, as Dee Gordon and Ramirez hit home runs for Team Wills.
Gordon, who said he gained 13 pounds over the off-season, led off the game with a home run against Hyun-Jin Ryu. Juan Uribe followed with a double, which set up a two-run home run by Ramirez.
Ryu pitched two innings. As he walked off the field, Uribe playfully said out to him, "I'm sorry. I still love you." Ryu smiled.
Stir down under
Organizers of the season-opening series in Australia between the Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks are upset with Zack Greinke, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
"I would say there's absolutely zero excitement for it," Greinke told ESPN.
Greinke isn't alone. Other Dodgers have said privately they would prefer not to start their season overseas.
The Dodgers have four players in Baseball America's list of top 100 prospects: outfielder Joc Pederson (No. 34), shortstop Corey Seager (No. 37), left-hander Julio Urias (No. 51) and right-hander Zach Lee (No. 95).
Pederson and Lee are in the Dodgers' major league camp. Urias, 17, is the youngest player on the list.