NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — David Wright is moving up to Triple-A to continue his rehab assignment, but the New York Mets say it’s unlikely the third baseman will play in the majors anytime soon as he attempts an arduous comeback from back and shoulder injuries.
Wright hasn’t appeared in a big league game since May 2016. He batted .188 (6 for 32) with a double, two RBIs and two walks in 10 games at Class A St. Lucie this month, seeing considerable time in the field.
He was hoping to play a third day in a row Sunday but didn’t feel comfortable and was given a couple of days off, manager Mickey Callaway said Monday in Chicago.
On a conference call Tuesday with reporters, Mets assistant general manager John Ricco said Wright frankly hasn’t hit some of the benchmarks the team established for his rehab stint. But the Mets’ captain will play a couple of games with Triple-A Las Vegas this week, as previously scheduled, to see how it goes.
Wright’s 20-day rehab assignment expires Friday, and most minor league regular seasons are nearing an end this weekend.
“The schedule, as I said, was quite aggressive. It’s also in line with having the 20 days available to us. So this move was really as much about just trying to keep to that schedule and have him have the opportunity to face some Triple-A level pitching here at the end of the window,” Ricco said. “We were really running out of a little bit of time there. But that was really more the impetus for the move than really any progress that we’ve seen.”
When his rehab assignment is up, Wright could continue to work at the team’s complex in Florida — or join the Mets, remain on the 60-day disabled list and rehab with the major league medical staff, Ricco said.
A seven-time All-Star, the 35-year-old Wright has maintained he wants to exhaust every attempt at a comeback. But if he’s going to return, he doesn’t want it to be just for ceremonial reasons — he wants to be able to contribute on the field.
“We’ll have some more discussions both with him and with medical people as to what the next step is. I think it’s unrealistic to think that he would be activated anytime soon, based on what we’ve seen to this point,” Ricco said. “But we really have been taking it step by step and trying to give him every opportunity to get back. I know he’d like to — or, he’s working to — trying to get back to the big leagues. But at this point, it really is kind of a step-by-step thing and this was the next step on the schedule.”
Wright is under contract through 2020. He is making $20 million this year and is owed $27 million over the next two seasons.
Ricco also said power-hitting prospect Peter Alonso won’t be called up from Triple-A when rosters expand in September.
Alonso was batting .277 with 33 homers and a minor league-leading 111 RBIs combined at Double-A Binghamton and Triple-A Las Vegas this season. The first baseman homered in the All-Star Futures Game last month in Washington.
“He’s had an unbelievable season. He’s done everything we’ve asked,” Ricco said.
Alonso’s agents, Adam Karon and Tripper Johnson, said in a statement “it is disheartening for Peter after producing an historically great season and exceeding every request from the Mets player development staff.
“I’m sure it is equally disheartening for Mets fans who would enjoy watching and getting to know one of the more talented and entertaining players they’ve developed in years.”
Ricco said there’s limited playing time available at first base in the majors right now because Wilmer Flores is already there, and the fourth-place Mets want to look at outfielder Jay Bruce and youngster Dominic Smith in that spot the rest of the way as well.
“To have Pete come up and really just sit, when we looked at it, didn’t make a lot of sense,” Ricco said. “As much as we would love to reward him for the season that he had and the work he’s done, we think it’s more beneficial for him to get some rest and we’ll see what the fall plans for him will be.”
Another consideration is clerical: Alonso is still exempt from the Rule 5 draft in December, so the Mets don’t need to put him on the 40-man roster to protect him this winter. Add him now, and that’s one fewer spot available for minor leaguers who do need to be on the 40-man roster to be protected.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)