The hits just keep on coming for the New York Mets. It remains to be seen when they’ll resume for their All-Star third baseman, David Wright, who was a leading MVP candidate for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic.
Wright was scratched from Thursday night’s game against the Dominican Republic with rib soreness in his lower back left side. He was to be examined this morning in Port St. Lucie, but will now travel directly to New York, which could denote the Mets believe the injury is worse than originally speculated.
Initially, Wright expressed optimism he would be able to continue to play, but that won’t happen now.
“I wanted to play tonight, but I understand the decision,’’ Wright said in Miami, where the game was being played. “I’m disappointed. That goes without saying. But I completely understand the direction that they’re going.’’
Wright started experiencing soreness a week ago and said recently he had difficult sleeping. This was reported to the Mets, but he was not told to immediately report to his team or club physicians. When the pain persisted the Mets pulled the plug on Wright’s WBC experience.
Why the Mets didn’t force the issue early needs to be questioned, as does Wright’s willingness to play through the injury.
This is not the first time Wright attempted to play with an injury. Two years ago, after an awkward play at third base, Wright felt pain in his lower back, but continued to play. The pain eventually persisted to the point where he had an MRI, which diagnosed with a stress fracture in his lower back. This came a month after the injury. Last year, Wright had a strained left rib-cage during spring training, but told reporters last night this injury appeared different.
It is admirable Wright wants to play so badly he’ll do so while hurting. But, it isn’t when the injury worsens to the point where he can’t play at all, which is what happened in 2011.
As these injuries often linger, it isn’t inconceivable Wright might not be ready for Opening Day. If that’s the case, Justin Turner could replace him, or it might enable Zach Lutz or Brandon Hicks to make the Opening Day roster.
Wright was having a blistering spring, hitting .438 (7-for-16) with 10 RBI, including a grand slam over Italy.
We won’t know the severity of Wright’s injury until possibly later today or tomorrow, but a significant player being hurt in the WBC and missing time from his team has always been the biggest concern about this manufactured tournament.
Maybe this will be nothing with Wright. Or, perhaps it will turn out to be a major blow for a team that has experienced so many.