David Wright’s homecoming will be another emotional ride on Friday
It’s been nothing short of a lost year for the Mets captain in 2015, thanks to a hamstring injury which led to the discovery of spinal stenosis in his lumbar spine.
But David Wright is back now with hopes he can be impactful in the Mets drive to the playoffs for the first time since 2006. So far, he has made the impact he envisioned he would make when he said nearly three months ago, leaning over a chair in the visitors clubhouse in San Diego, he would come back and contribute at a high level in 2015.
Wright went 4-for-15 with a home run in three games against the Phillies in the club’s four-game sweep at Citizens Bank Park. He now has 20 home runs at Citizens Bank Park, the most by a visiting player in Citizens Bank Park history and the most for Wright in any opposing ballpark.
Wright passed the early test in Philadelphia, looking refreshed, rejuvenated, and simply happy to be back playing baseball after so much uncertainty thanks to his prognosis.
“I know that physically and mentally, I feel a whole lot better now than I did three or four months ago,” Wright said on Monday.
He admitted to being very emotional when he restarted his season on Monday evening. Understandably so. But now, he’s coming home to play in front of his fan base in what is expected to be an excited and capacity crowd at Citi Field for three games against the Red Sox this weekend.
He expects another emotional beginning on Friday evening in New York.
“I’ll kind of go through everything again where you try to keep yourself, the adrenaline at a calm level. You don’t want it to sky rocket,” Wright explained early Thursday. “We know how hungry these fans are to win and that’s what you want to be a part of.”
This is a different model Wright is a part of with the retro-fitted Mets. For now, he along with seemingly every player on the roster are complimentary pieces. And Wright will not play everyday until he is truly 100 percent, if that happens at all.
But that hasn’t impacted Wright’s fire and determination. He goes through a 90 minute pre-game routine of therapeutic exercises to ensure his body can withstand the rigors of a complete game. And during Thursday’s 13 inning marathon in Philadelphia, Terry Collins tried to pull Wright out of the game on five different occasions in an effort to preserve him, in which the team’s captain adamantly refused to come out of the game.
“I went to him five times tonight to try to talk to him about coming out. He said, ‘Absolutely not. Not tonight,’” Collins said.
Collins obliged Wright’s request to stay in the game and contribute to another successful night in Philadelphia.
“I said, ‘If it’s strategy, then yeah. But if you’re worried about me, don’t bother,’” Wright explained. “He allowed me to make the decision. And I’m glad he did.”
Wright insists he is feeling good on a daily basis, regardless of what the reality truly is.
“Each at-bat and each play in the field, you just get more and more comfortable. Now it’s just all about baseball. I feel like I’m slowly getting back into the swing of things. I feel like I’m having some good at-bats, some productive at-bats, and hopefully that continues.”
Wright made three dazzling defensive plays at third base on Thursday night, an area he has struggled with thanks to being sidelined for 4 1/2 months this season.
“I’d like to think I’m a good defender over there, so I expect to make the plays,” the third baseman said.
While still fluid, the design of Wright’s playing schedule over the next week is to allow him to play in all three games against the Nationals in Washington from September 7-9. He will typically play three games in a row with a day off preceding those consecutive games in an effort to preserve him through the end of the season.
But since he played the entire 13 inning game on Thursday, Collins might decide to give him Saturday off, and have him play Sunday instead.
“With playing the long game today, I’m not sure what Terry is going to decide to do,” Wright said.
Either way, his homecoming on Friday night will be another special moment for Wright. It will serve as a brief celebration for the return of a beloved Met after being absent for so long.
But then, it’s back to business, just as Wright always wanted it while he was sidelined.