By Ernie Palladino
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Muscle spasms, slumps, bruises. And that’s just David Wright.
On Sunday, it was a muscle spasm in the right side of the third baseman’s neck that forced him out of the Mets’ 11-3 win over the Dodgers in the third inning.
Wright’s problem was a microcosm of the entire season. Even when things go blissfully right, as the Mets’ effort at Dodger Stadium did in producing their first win in three days, something goes wrong, like Wright!
Indeed, there was much to appreciate in this one, even after Wright chatted with the trainer, picked up his collection of what has been mostly useless lumber and headed to the locker room for treatment.
The defense, which had been outright offensive with seven errors over the previous three games, took advantage of Yasiel Puig’s poorly-advised attempt to score from second on a sixth-inning grounder and completed an oddball 5-4-3-2 triple play.
Bartolo Colon came back from attending his mother’s funeral and held the Dodgers to two runs over six innings.
The offense? 11 runs sort of speaks for itself. But when Ruben Tejada actually chips in a homer to go along with those of Travis d’Arnaud and Lucas Duda, something has definitely gone Wright. Er, right.
And yet, the starting third baseman’s issues with the various body parts that have come under physical attack this year overshadowed the whole effort. Terry Collins now will have a couple of things to ponder.
Where to bat him, for one. And when he decides that, when will he be able to use him there?
Collins said he’s been toying with the idea of moving Wright into the No. 2 hole and putting Daniel Murphy right behind him. He’s also thought about dropping him in the lineup, even though the struggling star hit in his traditional third spot Sunday because of a favorable matchup with starter Kevin Correia. Wright could certainly use a change of scenery, as even his third-inning single and run scored on Duda’s three-run homer couldn’t put a happy gloss on his post-All Star production.
His hit only moved his batting average since the break to .211, and he’s still awaiting his first homer in 143 at-bats since July 11. Two doubles account for all his extra-base hits since the break, and he’s stuck on eight RBIs after going 1-for-7 the last two games in Lalaland.
Then there’s the body. Wright told the media that this latest glitch should only keep him out until Tuesday. But who knows? The shoulder he bruised sliding into third in June is so affecting his play that opposing pitchers have noticed some of the swing adjustments he’s made to compensate for the pain.
Nobody is ever going to blame yet another lost season on Wright alone, but there is no denying he’s had some major problems throughout this 61-70 catastrophe. And now he’s hurt again.
Few players are as game as Wright. Few have fostered as much goodwill as the popular third baseman. He tries. He faces the press. But this year is not a year he’ll remember fondly, nor should he.
Instead, he might just think back to this game, and think that on a day when virtually everything else went right for his team, the fates did wrong by Wright.
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