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Wright won't rush, but has return date in mind

Cuddyer hopeful of coming off disabled list next week

NEW YORK -- The list of everyday Mets on the disabled list has been trimmed to two, and both players are optimistic about their returns. While Michael Cuddyer hopes he can return to the field next weekend in St. Petersburg, David Wright isn't willing to share his planned return date.

Wright has a day "circled on his calendar," but he's not ready to share it yet. The Mets third baseman has spent the past few days back in New York, working out and sitting in the dugout with his teammates during games, but he won't submit to the temptation to rush back.

"It's just a matter of getting the reps without overdoing it," Wright said prior to the Mets' 2-1 win over the Nationals on Friday. "It'd be nice to go out there and try to swing for an hour, take ground balls for an hour and try to escalate things a little more quickly, but that's not the game plan and it's not something that's the smart thing."

Wright was placed on the disabled list April 15 with a strained right hamstring and was later diagnosed with spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the spinal column in his lower back. He completed the initial steps of his rehab in Los Angeles, but has since returned to Citi Field to finish the process.

While Wright probably remains weeks away, Cuddyer optimistically hopes to return to the field next week. He's been on the DL since July 24 with a left knee injury the Mets originally said was a day-to-day issue.

Cuddyer first felt discomfort in his knee during a June 30 game against the Cubs, but both he and Mets manager Terry Collins said he would avoid the DL. That didn't happen, but now Cuddyer is hopeful he can return when he's eligible, next weekend against the Rays.

"Whether or not it happens, we'll see, but that would be nice," Cuddyer said.

Both Cuddyer and Wright have completed a range of baseball activities during their rehab. Cuddyer has yet to test his knee by running, but said that's his next anticipated step.

Earlier this week, Wright said he has good days and bad days with his back. He used to wake up some days and "just feel cranky," but an extended therapy and treatment program has reduced that to an occasional happening. Now, he's building stamina to work out multiple days in a row without discomfort.

"It's just making sure my body can respond to those baseball things on a daily basis," he said.

Once that happens, Wright will move on to face live pitching. That should come in the near future.

While in Los Angeles, Wright watched every Mets game, save for the blacked-out series against the Dodgers. Now, he's watching in the dugout, joking and laughing in full uniform with his teammates.

"It's been a long, tedious, at some points boring, at some points extremely frustrating process," Wright said. "There's a date in mind that I'd like to be playing in games and things, but every day I come in fairly early, we go over the plan for the day, and they tell me, 'See you tomorrow.' We'll just do what we have planned for tomorrow."

Wright, 32, has been limited to just eight games this season. In those eight games, he hit .333 with a home run and four RBIs.

Cuddyer, 36, is batting .250 with eight home runs and 30 RBIs this season, the first of a two-year contract he signed last November.

Alden Woods is an associate reporter for
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