PHOENIX -- The Dodgers have an even-year tradition of their own, one which came to fruition on Wednesday with the signing of Jamey Wright to a minor league contract with a non-roster invitation to big league camp in spring training.
Wright, 41, pitched for the Dodgers in 2012 and 2014 out of the bullpen. He was in Rangers' camp in 2015 as a non-roster invitee but didn't make the club in spring training and didn't pitch all season.
He has played catch in the offseason with fellow Dallas area resident Clayton Kershaw, so when the Dodgers ace came calling this winter Wright couldn't refuse.
"It wasn't just playing catch. It was Kershaw saying I didn't have anyone to throw with," Wright said. "I said I'd love to. I told him if I don't do it after doing it every year since I was 19 years old at that time of year I probably would have went into depression."
Wright has pitched in 719 major league games, including 248 starts over 19 seasons, totaling 2,036⅔ innings. He was drafted by the Rockies back in 1993. He will wear number 96 with the Dodgers, which was his first major league season.
"Jamey has had a heck of a career, in a lot of different roles. He took a lot of time off without picking up a baseball, and when he started throwing again there was something in there. He has a lot of energy, and is good for the team," manager Dave Roberts said. "Whatever role that is best for the club, he's open for anything. He just wanted the opportunity to compete, and see how it plays out."
Wright said the first session with Kershaw went great, then he felt better each time out, and eventually threw for scouts. He said there were a few other teams interested besides the Dodgers.
"I still have the desire to win the World Series," Wright said. "This is where I want to be."
Wright famously made a team in spring training as a non-roster invitee for eight straight years (2015-2013) with six different organizations before the Dodgers gave him a guaranteed deal in 2014. Back with another chance to prove himself and make a team, the ground ball specialist is in familiar territory.
"I am just going to control what I can control, and the rest will take care of itself," Wright said.
The Dodgers' signing of Wright brings the total in camp to 64 players, including 36 pitchers and 22 non-roster invitees.