Some time next week, David Wright will meet with Mets manager Terry Collins to devise a plan on how much their former All-Star third baseman will play this summer. It’s this year’s version of Matt Harvey‘s innings limit.
How many games will Wright play this summer?
Of course, it comes down to his health and how strong he feels, but for now there’s no definitive number or plan. Wright played in only 38 games last summer, and earlier this spring GM Sandy Alderson suggested 130, but that’s only a hope.
“I have to be smart about it,” Wright told reporters Friday. “One thing I need to mature and need to become better at is being honest with how I feel on a daily basis — being able to communicate a little better than I have in the past. I’ve been very stubborn when it comes to giving an honest assessment of injuries or how I feel.”
That’s always been an issue with Wright, who has always tried to play through pain and injuries. You’ll recall several years ago when he played nearly a month with a small fracture in his back. One can only wonder the connection with that injury to his current back problems.
“If I feel good and I’m producing and it’s not hurting my back or hurting the team, then I’m going to be out there,” Wright said.
“We just have to be wise enough to know that every so often you’re going to get a day off,” Collins said. “We’ve got to do a better job of monitoring some off days. How many? How? When? Right now I can’t answer that.”
There are a multitude of things Wright and the Mets can do to keep him fresh. Among them:
* It has to begin in spring training. Part of the plan has to be limiting his innings during spring training. It could include playing mostly home games and staying away from the bus rides.
* Undoubtedly, Collins will sandwich the games he gives Wright off around off days in the schedule, which would amount to consecutive days off.
* Who is to say when Wright plays it has to be for all nine innings? If up or down by three or four runs in the seventh or later, then it should be time to give Wilmer Flores some time. Given that, I wonder if Collins will replace Wright for late-inning defense. Of course, there might be times when it backfires, but when that happens Collins can’t abandon his plan.
* Tough pitching match-ups could be avoided. I know Wright wants to be out there, but if he has a low career average against a pitcher, why send him out there for three or four fruitless at-bats?
* Be aware of the weather. Wet grounds and cold weather should be avoided whenever possible.
Wright said he needs to be more honest with himself and Collins needs to hold him to that promise. Wright is 33 years-old and is obviously not the same player. But, that doesn’t mean he can’t still be a viable and productive asset. Both he and the Mets have to be smart about things.