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Wright won't rush return to Mets until he's ready

NEW YORK -- Third baseman David Wright took grounders on a Major League field before the Mets' 4-0 win over the Padres on Tuesday for the first since he was placed on the disabled list with spinal stenosis on April 15. The 32-year-old also took batting practice in the cage and ran.

The hope is Wright can begin a Minor League rehab shortly, but a timetable for that is still not in place.

It was another step in Wright's return from a narrowing of his spinal column, perhaps sometime this season.

"He'll continue baseball activities through the end of the [six-game] homestand," general manager Sandy Alderson said of Wright. "We'll take another look at it at that time and see where he is."

Wright has been in rehab out in Los Angeles for the past two months. In a wide-ranging interview session, the captain said it has been tough to sit on the sidelines and watch his team play. Wright also said there's no purpose in rushing back until he's completely ready to play.

Q: David, do you think you will play for the Mets this season?

Wright: Yeah, yeah. I don't think there's much of a question (about) that. Assuming that things continue to go smoothly, for me, the biggest thing is just time. The biggest hurdle is not so much that this is an injury, but it's a condition. So it's something that's going to have to be managed. I've done everything I can do rehab-wise, now it's just a matter of going out and testing it on the baseball field.

Q: So when do you think you'll be able to start playing rehab games in the Minors?

Wright: I don't know. Tomorrow is going to be my first time going back to back as far as doing baseball stuff at this intensity. So I'll be ready when I'm ready. I'm not setting a date for rehab games until I get further along in the baseball stuff, so that my body can't take back to back and then three days in a row and then four days in a row and so on. So as far as setting a date for when I'm going to be ready for rehab games, it doesn't make any sense right now.

Q: How eager are you to get back in there and help this team in this pennant chase?

Wright: The toughest thing to do has been to sit back and watch this. I think I've watched almost every game on TV. It's easier to sit there and watch when they're playing well. But I think the toughest thing is to watch them when things weren't going so well. I'd like to think that I could help the offense out a little bit.

Q: How does it feel now when you bend down for a ground ball or swing the bat?

Wright: I feel very good. The time it takes now to get ready is a little longer than it's been in the past. But that's just part of the deal. That's why I think it was important to continue the transition here. I'm fresh off getting the therapy out in L.A., so it's fresh in my mind what it takes for me to get ready every day. I've got to get to the park a little earlier and just be aware that there are certain things I have to do on a daily basis to make sure that we manage this thing.

Q: Since you say this is a condition, not an injury, is this something you're going to have to deal with the rest of your life?

Wright: Yes. It's a combination of what I was born with, the wear and tear of baseball on my back, and I had a spinal injury in 2011. The combination of those three things just has brought me to where I am now. I don't think it's going to restrict anything I do on the field or change anything I do on the field. Occasionally, there are going to be those days when those nerves get jammed up in there, and I'm not going to be able to play or practice. And you have to be smart about it and be a little bit more mature about it and say, "Hey, this is not going to be a good day. You just can't do it."

Q: When you do start playing rehab games, how many weeks do you think it's going to take to be ready?

Wright: That's a good question. I'd prefer probably as little as possible. I want to be here. But the other part of that is, I don't want to come here and struggle because I'm not ready. That doesn't do anybody any good. I don't want to do that. I don't want to come back too early and embarrass myself. I surely don't want to come back too early and hurt the team more than I'm helping the team. I'm sure they'll ask for my input about how I feel, but I want to know from them what I need to do to get ready and come back and help the team.

Q: So it's safe to say you're finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel? 

Wright: Yeah, you go through all that rehab, hoping for the chance to get back on the baseball field. Today was another step in that direction, for sure.

Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter.
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