PORT ST. LUCIE — David Wright will have to show the Mets he is still worthy of significant playing time.
After missing most of the last two seasons with major injuries, the Mets captain is expected to receive at-bats early in the Grapefruit League season in an effort to gauge his physical readiness.
In recent spring trainings, manager Terry Collins has limited Wright’s playing time early in order to preserve him for the long haul.
“I think we have to get David into games earlier than we did last year, just to make sure we know what we’ve got, so he knows where it’s going to stand,” Collins said Monday. “He feels good, he took some good batting practice again today, he starts throwing this week, but we’re going to be cautious with him.”
Wright played only two months in 2016 before undergoing season-ending surgery for a herniated disk in his neck. The previous year he was diagnosed with spinal stenosis and did not play beyond April.
The 34-year-old Wright continues to manage the stenosis through workouts, but does about two hours of stretching exercises before games just to prepare his body for athletic competition.
“What we would like to try to do is set down something on paper for David,” Collins said. “To be smart about it, we realize it has to be adjusted each and every day. There are times he’s going to get up in the morning and he’s not going to feel very good and we’re going to have to adjust it.”
Because of his limited baseball activity the last two seasons, Wright has expressed a desire to get more at-bats than usual in spring training.
“With that comes, still wear and tear,” Collins said. “We’ve got to get him at-bats, we’ve got to get him ground balls, but we’ve got to be smart about it. That’s where I think the extra week of spring training will help us, where we don’t have to push him.”
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