Greg Maddux debuted Wednesday as a member of the Dodgers front office. He wore a uniform and carried a fungo bat as he roamed the fields at Camelback Ranch, where he will be for the duration of spring training in his role as a special advisor to Andrew Friedman, the team's president of baseball operations.
Maddux joined the organization after an inquiry from President Stan Kasten. The two knew each other from their days together in Atlanta. Maddux spent the majority of his Hall of Fame career pitching for the Braves, where Kasten ran the front office.
Maddux said he will make himself available to the Dodgers who seek his insight.
"I'll probably just say the same thing the other coaches have said to them the last five years or 10 years," he said. "Maybe I'll say it a little different. Who knows? But the goal is to make the players better."
Joining Maddux in uniform was guest instructor Eric Gagne, the team's former closer and the winner of the 2003 National League Cy Young Award. Both watched as Clayton Kershaw threw his third bullpen session since camp opened last week.
Maddux played for the Dodgers when Kershaw debuted in 2008. Maddux was 42, Kershaw was 20. Maddux knew Kershaw had talent, but he could not predict his dominance.
"You never think anybody is going to be that good," Maddux said. "I mean, you knew he was good and he was going to pitch for a long time."
He added: "He's been able to turn into a winner. I think a lot of guys have the stuff or the makeup. But not everybody's a winner. He's been able to win and stay healthy and win a lot."
Jamey Wright eyes a comeback
The Dodgers signed Jamey Wright, a 41-year-old veteran of 19 seasons and 10 teams, to a minor league contract. Wright is in camp.
Wright did not pitch in 2015 after being released by the Texas Rangers near the end of spring training. He became reinvigorated while playing catch with Kershaw near Dallas in the off-season. The two have thrown together in recent years, and Kershaw asked Wright to do it again.
"I said, 'I would love to,'" Wright said. "I said, 'If I don't do it, after doing it since I was 18 years old, that time of year, I'll probably go into a depression if I don't do it.' So I told him I would.
"The first time out felt great. The second time felt even better. Then we started getting some other guys in there throwing, but I wanted to keep throwing. I wanted to take it through and see how it feels."
Wright's representatives contacted a few teams about sending a scout to see him. The Dodgers were one of them. Wright pitched for the team in 2012 and 2014. He had a 4.35 earned-run average in 61 games in 2014.
"I'm not here to baby-sit or do any of that," Wright said. "I'm here to try to make the team. I still have the desire to win a World Series. That's why I'm here."
Kershaw was happy to see Wright in camp. He laughed when asked if he also intended to pitch into his 40s.
"I hope so," Kershaw said. "I doubt it. But I hope so. There's not many people who are 41 and in the type of shape that J-Mo's in. It's a testament to him and what he's been able to do in his career."
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