Assistant GM John Ricco told reporters on Saturday that David Wright has suffered another setback and has been shutdown for the second time in 15 days due to a serious back issue.
Wright has been diagnosed with lumbar spinal stenosis – a narrowing of the spinal column.
“He’s still experiencing some lower-back tightness,” Ricco said.
“It’s at the point where we’re going to stop the on-field stuff for a week, continue with a program of core strengthening and basically back-stabilization exercises. They hope that will alleviate what he’s feeling.”
According to Record columnist Bob Klapisch, it’s the same condition that forced Lenny Dykstra to retire at age 35, and also wreaked havoc with the career of Don Mattingly who was never the same afterward.
While the Mets seem to be downplaying the severity of the diagnosis, spinal stenosis can be a very painful and debilitating condition that varies in severity from day to day.
There are two types of spinal stenosis, and while lumbar is the less serious of the two, it can worsen and degenerate with exertion or too much physical activity.
According to the medical website Spine Health, in lumbar spinal stenosis, the spinal nerve roots in the lower back are compressed, or choked, and this can produce symptoms of sciatica — tingling, weakness or numbness that radiates from the lower back and into the buttocks and legs – especially with activity.
Doctors have made it clear that only rest will help, and Wright could make the injury worse if he tries to push and play through it.
For now the Mets captain will be shutdown for at least one week and then he’ll be re-examined and evaluated.
There is absolutely no timetable for his return as the team will play this one very slowly and much will depend on Wright’s threshold for pain.
It’s a significant setback for Wright and the team. The Mets have been using Eric Campbell at third base, but he has been mired in an 0-for-20 slump at the plate, is batting .189 for the season, and has also made a pair of costly throwing errors this week.
The front office may have to reconsider their stance of waiting out Wright’s return before considering trading for a bat, but the timing works against them in my opinion.
It’s still early in the season and not many teams have come out as sellers yet. Plus the situation gives the Mets little in the way of leverage, in fact I’d say they have none.
For the time being the team will have to consider all their internal options, and if that means promoting Matt Reynolds then so be it. Ruben Tejada will man third base on Sunday, but the reality is that the Mets have been dealt a serious blow, and it comes at a very bad time with the team struggling for offense.