Will Wright Be Ready For Opening Day?
David Wright is correct, his rib injury could have happened anytime. It could have happened carrying groceries from the car.
That isn’t the issue.
The issues are Wright was injured while at the World Baseball Classic – whatever he was doing at the time, it was away from the Mets – and did not report his injury in a timely fashion.
Also an issue is Wright has a strained left intercostal muscle and faces the strong possibility of being on the disabled list to start the season. What should be an issue if you’re the Mets is Wright gave no sign of regret about the WBC, and the perception of minimizing the injury.
“You can get hurt in spring training,’’ Wright told reporters prior to today’s 2-1 loss to Atlanta. “You can get hurt before spring training. Playing baseball, there’s some risk that comes along with that. … It has nothing to do with the tournament itself. It has everything to do with some bad luck.’’
Sure, it is bad luck, but that’s not Mets fans want to hear. They want to know if their All-Star third baseman, who was just signed to a $138 million package, will be able to play Opening Day. The WBC is a hard enough sell as it is in the United States, and Wright was injured participating in the international tournament. Mets fans don’t care about promoting baseball around the globe.
There is also the perception Wright placed his personal desire to represent his country – as admirable as that is – over his obligation to the Mets.
“Of course I owe it to the Mets to be honest with them, and I was,’’ Wright insists. “Ultimately when I started going in and getting treatment for it, the Mets saw that and they called me. I was honest with how I was feeling.
“Once it got to the point where I started not being able to sleep, or when it was painful to lounge around, that’s when obviously I started going to get treatment and talking to [trainer] Ray [Ramirez] and [general manager] Sandy [Alderson] and those guys.’’
Wright said those conversations took place Wednesday, which contradicts Alderson’s assertion the Mets didn’t become aware until shortly before game time Thursday. That doesn’t help the Mets’ image. The Mets have been known for their sloppy handling of injuries, ranging from Ryan Church’s concussion to Carlos Beltran’s knee to Johan Santana’s shoulder this spring.
That won’t go away, especially if Wright isn’t ready for the season, as appears the case. Wright can’t commit to Opening Day, saying he needs to be cautious and not risk further injury and be out even longer. So, where was the caution when Wright felt pain for a week before reporting it to WBC trainers?
“Once it got to the point where I thought it might obviously prohibit me from coming back and producing with the Mets, that’s when it was time to make that decision,’’ Wright said. “I feel like I have a pretty good sense of what’s tolerable and what’s not tolerable.’’
Well, how about when Wright played a month with pain in his lower back which was later diagnosed as a stress fracture? And, last spring he had the same injury and was out a month. Nobody ever questioned Wright not being a gamer, but that isn’t the issue.
Wright’s desire to represent his country and honor his commitment is admirable. However, it is his judgment here that is in question. His first obligation is to the Mets.
Thoughts from Joe D.
Another wrinkle to this story comes this morning. Terry Collins reported that David Wright will do whatever he can and whatever it takes to be ready to play by Opening Day.
I don’t like the sound of that. What does that mean exactly? Does it mean he will play through the pain again because he’s “a gamer?” New Yorkers love their gamers…
The fact that he required a cortisone shot in his left rib cage on Friday does show the seriousness of this intercostal injury. In mild cases you get a few days and up to a week of rest, and in moderate cases you get a shot and then hold vigil for a week while waiting for a miracle healing that almost never comes.
In Daniel Murphy‘s case the Mets have been holding vigil for a month now, and yesterday we learned of a setback that has shut him down indefinitely from all baseball activity.
“OK, ok, ok… It’s just a little pin-prick… There’ll be no more ahhhh-ahhh-ah… But you may feel a little sick. ~ Pink Floyd
We will know more by Thursday or Friday when Wright is expected to get re-examined, but the last thing we need is Wright using his poor judgement once again only to make things worse. He’s already turned a mole hill into a mountain by playing through soreness for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic, lets not make the same mistake just so we can prop him in front of an Opening Day crowd so he can tip his little blue hat to the fans.
“I always play through whatever I can,” Wright said yesterday morning. “I could tolerate playing through it and I was fine with it, and once it got to the point I thought it might prohibit me from coming back and producing with the Mets, that’s when it was time to make that decision.”
That’s great David, but the last thing this team needs right now is you playing the role of super hero again. You are not impervious to pain… Unless of course you want to play the role of Wolverine of the X-Men, who had the remarkable power to heal himself.
About the Author: John Delcos
I am an active member of the BBWAA and have covered Major League Baseball in several capacities for over 20 years, including ten in New York working the Mets' and Yankees' beat. I covered the Baltimore Orioles for eight years and the Cleveland Indians before that. I currently serve as an editor and senior staff writer for Mets Merized Online. Follow me on Twitter @jdelcos.
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