Wright has difficult time harnessing knuckleball

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- When the knuckleball doesn't do what it's supposed to do, it can be a long day at the ballpark.

Red Sox right-hander Steven Wright got a painful reminder of that on Wednesday afternoon at JetBlue Park, as he gave up five hits and five runs in a 9-3 loss to the Pirates. Over two innings, Wright walked three and struck out none.

However, manager John Farrell doesn't plan on making snap judgments on Wright.

"Going back to the final inning in the previous outing and today, just not the consistent feel or the shape to the knuckleball," said Farrell. "It's one of those things where we have to be patient with the pitch and him as a knuckleball pitcher."

Tim Wakefield, the 200-game winner, was again in camp on Wednesday to observe Wright's performance.

"If you look at the bigger picture, he's at the early stages of trying to perfect this pitch, one which is an imperfect pitch … that will be a constant pursuit," said Farrell. "With Wake being here and the amount they can converse back and forth that will be beneficial. But at the same time, he's got to learn that pitching in between the lines and not just on the side. That's part of his development."

No matter what type of camp he has, Wright is expected to start the season in the Minor Leagues, where he projects to start every fifth day.

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.