Mets' Wright considering neck surgery

Captain would be sidelined for at least 3 months if he undergoes procedure

June 14th, 2016

NEW YORK -- Mets third baseman David Wright is considering surgery to replace a herniated disc in his neck. He should make a decision this week regarding the operation, which could end his season.

Wright, 33, has been sidelined since May 27 with a herniated disc in his neck. He is currently discussing his options with Dr. Robert Watkins -- the back specialist who oversaw Wright's rehab from spinal stenosis last summer -- in consultation with Mets doctors. That group should decide by the end of this week whether Wright will undergo surgery or attempt to rehab his neck back into playing shape.

If Wright does opt for surgery, recovery times for that procedure start at a minimum of three months.

"I always prefer certainty over uncertainty, so having some resolution will be helpful," Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said. "False hope is never useful, or not often useful. We like to be pragmatic."

Alderson cautioned not to assume surgery for Wright, who was hitting .226 with seven home runs in 37 games prior to his injury. For now, the third baseman is resting in California while he and Watkins discuss his options. He missed all but 38 games last year due to his stenosis, a condition that will affect him for the rest of his life.

In the meantime, the Mets are beginning to canvas the markets for possible third-base replacements. Alderson painted the picture of a bleak market at that position, with the exception of one notable highlight: Cuba's Yulieski Gourriel, who became a Major League free agent on Monday. While the Mets have stayed far from the Cuban market in recent years, even as stars such as Yoenis Cespedes and Jose Abreu have signed lucrative contracts elsewhere, Alderson has long said he envisions the Mets becoming involved.

The team's pursuit of Gourriel may hinge upon Wright's decision. If Wright is lost for the year, the Mets would be more willing to commit dollars to a full-time third baseman such as the 32-year-old Gourriel. If not, the club would be unlikely to spend its resources on a temporary fix.

Other options include trading for a third baseman, though few significant upgrades over Wilmer Flores are likely to be available this summer, or moving Neil Walker to third and promoting second-base prospect Dilson Herrera.

For now, Flores will continue to start most days at third base, as he did for Tuesday's series opener against the Pirates. The Mets won't commit to any other option until they know Wright's fate.

"I don't feel that there's any immediate timeline for necessity to know one way or the other, in part because the availability of replacements is so limited-to-nonexistent at this point," Alderson said. "This is not the time of year when full-time third basemen, other than [Gourriel], are typically available. So we march on."