PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Throughout the first week of full-squad workouts at the Mets' Tradition Field complex, David Wright has rarely been visible. At times, he has stepped into a batter's box, tracking pitches on a back field. At times, he has fielded fungoes off a coach's bat.
But when it comes to throwing, Wright has been nowhere in sight. Three times this week, Wright threw away from the eyes of fans and reporters, playing his first games of catch since June.
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"We don't want him overexposed to where, if he makes a bad throw, all of a sudden it's a big story," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "We want to make sure when he starts out there throwing in front of everybody, that he's certainly ready to let it loose."
Of the many obstacles Wright must clear this spring -- if he wants to be ready for Opening Day -- throwing tops the list. Even before undergoing season-ending neck surgery last summer, Wright's throws from third base lacked much of their usual zip, making it a point of concern for a coaching staff hoping to unlock some semblance of the old David Wright.
But the process is slow, and will take weeks to complete. When Grapefruit League games begin this week, Collins said, Wright will be limited to designated hitter duty. It will be later in March when Wright officially returns to third base, giving the Mets their first real opportunity to watch -- and hold their breath.
"He'll continue to get better," Collins said. "He's making strides. Three weeks from today, we'll have a real good idea where he's at."