David Wright started his road back to the major leagues on Sunday for the St. Lucie Mets. However, his bat was not completely up-to-speed yet as he struck out on four pitches in his first at-bat, struck out again in his second, and flew out in his third.
The 35-year-old also played the field for five innings at his regular spot at third base and hit third in the lineup against Clearwater.
Today’s game was a milestone for Wright in its own right, though, as his condition of spinal stenosis along with various back and neck injuries had kept him out of any sort of game action since August 26 of last year for St. Lucie and off the major league diamond since May 27, 2016.
The seven-time National League All-Star ranks first in franchise history in wins above replacement among position players with 50.4 WAR, has the most runs scored (949), hits (1,777), doubles (390), runs batted in (970), and is second in home runs to Darryl Strawberry (242).
Wright started throwing on May 28 in the hopes of reaching this point. He is currently in the sixth year of an eight-year, $138 million contract and is set to earn $20 million this season, $15 million in 2019, and $12 million in 2020 before hitting free agency.
However, the Mets recoup 75% of what the team owes him through insurance every time Wright spends 60 or more days on the disabled list.
Today’s events are a great first step in the hopeful comeback for the captain, even without a hit recorded in any of his at-bats. David Wright finding his way back to the Citi Field would be truly unbelievable and I think any Mets fan would love to see his dream be realized.
Wright spoke to reporters after his first game back on the field and he seemed thrilled to be back out there for the first time this year.
“I there were a lot of different butterflies and some nervous energy because it’s been a while. Just the preparation for the game, it felt like I got here so early I was just counting down the minutes waiting to get it going and it was good to get out there and hopefully the results will come, but for now getting three at-bats, going out on the field for five innings, seeing some pitches, seeing some really dominant pitching.”
“It’s not ideal really seeing 96-97 your first game in a year so it was good to be challenged like that early and I’m all smiles.”
Rich Coutinho of MMO asked the third baseman whether or not he felt today went the way he hoped for and while Wright wishes it could have gone better, he seemed more than content with how the day went.
“I would say so. You know obviously everybody wants to go out there and get hits and everybody wants to go out on the field and make all the plays. But for me, I think I have to really, not necessarily temper expectations, but be realistic about the process and make sure that I’m doing the work behind the scenes and hopefully go back in there and start seeing the results as we get further along in this rehab.
— SportsNet New York (@SNYtv) August 12, 2018