By Ed Coleman
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PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (WFAN) — The odds have been stacked against David Wright for some time now.
Spinal stenosis diagnosed in 2015 that limited him to 38 games. A discectomy, neck surgery, that allowed him to play in just 37 games last season. And on Tuesday morning, Mets general manager Sandy Alderson delivered news of the latest setback — Wright would be heading to New York and the Hospital for Special Surgery to have the shoulder soreness that has compromised his throwing program checked out.
“Basically it’s soreness in the rotator cuff, that results from instability in the shoulder,” Alderson said. “So he’s not going to be throwing for a couple of weeks. Probably not throwing with any real zip for a period after that. After that he can continue to DL, but in the meantime he’ll be doing a lot of shoulder exercises to try and strengthen that shoulder.”
The good news? There is no structural damage, and this is not a surgical issue. Alderson said that the muscles around the shoulder have not re-engaged since the surgery and that has taken more time than anticipated. Alderson was asked if the problem was an offshoot of Wright’s neck surgery.
“Yes, we think it is,” he said. “Again, I’m not a doctor, but the doctors feel that it is someway related to the neck surgery.”
Because of the instability in the musculature around the joint in the shoulder, there’s been a banging that is causing irritation. Many Met fans and other observers feel that Wright is fighting an uphill battle, that this might be the last straw that puts an end to his career prematurely. But Alderson disagreed.
“I don’t think we are at that point, the point where that concern is at a more heightened level,” Alderson said. “This is all part of the process of rehabilitating from the neck surgery and it’s taking longer than I’m sure David would have hoped and we would have hoped, but it’s part of the process.”
Barring that, the next logical question would be is he done as a third baseman?
“Well, if he can’t throw it makes every position less realistic. I think we have to wait and see whether this shoulder injury continues … our goal is to get him back to third base,” Alderson said.
Jose Reyes will now take over as the everyday third base role. Reyes played shortstop against the Marlins on Tuesday and will also play short for the Dominican Republic in the upcoming WBC. Reyes has been amazed at the resilience and fortitude his good friend Wright has exhibited during a very difficult time.
“What he been through the last two-two and a half years you have to be very strong in the mind to continue to go to the ballpark every day with the right attitude and try to get better,” Reyes said. “You know, he have the right attitude. We want him 100 percent and to continue with this ball club. I wish all the best for him. We have very good communication and relationship, so nothing but the best.”
Manager Terry Collins, though not surprised, was saddened by the news, but certainly doesn’t think we’ve seen the last of Wright.
“This kid is a team player. He has already voiced to me early in spring that he knows he has to produce. Don’t worry about where I hit in the lineup. If I can help, I’ll play and hit anywhere,” Collins said. “He came in the other day and said, ‘I think I need to get a first baseman’s glove.’ That’s the kind of guy he is. That’s why we need him. That’s why we need him in our clubhouse, on our bench and on our team.”
And as Collins said his teammates very much want him to remain their captain back.
“No question. I’ll tell you how much, Ed. They asked today. They asked me have you heard about David? What happened with David today? To a man, and that just tells you their feelings toward the guy. They’ll lift his spirits up,” Collins said.