The last piece of the New York Mets 2015 puzzle, captain David Wright, is now on a rehab assignment. Will he came back and contribute?
By Robby Sabo
For Sandy Alderson and his dream-team cast of front office stars, everything is suddenly fusing into place.
The New York Mets (60-52) currently enjoy a 1.5 game lead in the NL East, their first such lead as an organization in August since 2008. Success is so visible that fans are now beside themselves, dreaming of an orange-and-blue MLB World Series.
Take the worst offense in the league, a struggling organization, and a starved fanbase, and put that up against the acquisitions of Yoenis Cespedes, Juan Uribe, Kelly Johnson and Tyler Clippard; the return of Michael Cuddyer; the growth of Michael Conforto; the continuing filthy pitching of their young starters; and we have a formula for craziness and magic down the stretch.
There’s only one thing missing: their captain, David Wright.
Wright has been sidelined since mid-April with spinal-stenosis, a rare condition which involves compression of the spinal cord. It’s an injury that has taken the playing-life away from so many athletes before (Lenny Dykstra).
Wright having only participated in eight games this season added fuel to the “despair” fire Mets fans found themselves in just a few short weeks ago.
In any event, after taking 90-minutes to prepare with his physical therapist, the captain played in his first baseball game in over four-months on Monday night.
With Single-A Port St. Lucie, Wright began his rehab stint en route back to MLB. As the designated hitter he went 1-for-3 with a walk. His lone hit was a shot for a single into left center-field.
Adam Rubin of ESPN New York:
“Any time you haven’t played in a game in a few months, it takes a little bit to get it back, get your legs under you,” Wright said. “But I thought today was, all in all, a good day.”
What’s rough about Wright’s situation is that it’s not an injury at all. It’s actually a condition. One that he’ll need time to adjust to for the rest off his life, rather just healing from a pulled hammy for example.
“When I was 21, it was just roll out of bed and do a couple of twists and turns and ready to go,” Wright said. “I think gradually I’ve tried to warm up properly. But now, it’s a whole different beast going through the program that the doctors and therapists have set forth for me. It’s a longer day. No question.”
The great positive in his night didn’t come from the base-knock. It came when Wright had to get on his horse from first-to-third on a base-hit by Dominic Smith (Mets 2013 first-round pick). He then scored a batter later on a ground-out.
“I reacted. I didn’t think about my back,” Wright said. “I didn’t think, ‘Hey, maybe I should just pull here into second.’ I just let the instincts take over. That’s exactly what I wanted to do.
“It’s a small step,” he said. “I think tomorrow will be a bigger step just in playing on both sides of the ball. To actually come out here and participate in a game from where I felt a couple of months ago is solid. I feel good about that. I take pride in putting that work in to get to this point, because a couple of months ago, I was hurting pretty badly.”
This is the first step in a long and tedious process of getting back into game shape. There are no guarantees. This is why the Mets fan needs to take this night with a grain of salt.
Wright is the only thing missing right now in the Mets recipe for October success. Should they continue their winning ways and roll into the postseason as NL East champs, and Wright not be there, it’ll feel as if something’s missing.
After all, this is the guy who stuck around for the long haul. The man who decided to take the long-term extension despite knowing it might take a couple years for Alderson’s plan to take full effect.
The 2015 Mets are becoming Amazin’, and Wright is nowhere to be found. Sure he can pal-around in the dugout with the fellas, but it’s simply not the same.
Forget production. Everybody understands what a healthy Wright does for the lineup (even if it’s the below superstar-level Wright we’ve been accustomed to in recent years). He’d fit nicely into the middle of the order with Cecpedes and Lucas Duda.
Nevermind the production factor. Wright’s impending return would do so much more for the Mets than provide another stick. It has the possibility of galvanizing a club even further. Taking them from already Amazin’ to downright spectacular.
Whether or not Wright can just get back onto the 25-man roster (even as a part-time player) remains to be seen.
One this is for sure though. If he can make it back, his presence would mean much more than another piece. He represents the city’s frustration with the Mets for the last eight-seasons. And if they do magical things this Fall, he’d represent that turnaround.
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