Wright determined to return to Majors soon

Mets won't activate 3B until he proves he's ready for next level

September 1st, 2018

SAN FRANCISCO -- Upon returning to a big league clubhouse Friday at AT&T Park, met behind closed doors with Mets manager Mickey Callaway and two front-office executives. According to Wright, who later offered a general sense of the meeting, the officials challenged him to prove he can still be an effective big league player before they will consider activating him from the disabled list.

"The challenge has been accepted," Wright said. "I'm going to do everything I can to get that clearance. I'm going to do everything I can to put that big league uniform on, because I've come way too far with the work to give it a 'poor me' now, and just say whatever. I've set a goal. I've certainly been challenged. I want to attain that goal. And I want to beat that challenge."

Sidelined since May 2016 due to back, neck and shoulder injuries, Wright recently cut short a Minor League rehab assignment to rejoin the Mets. But the team did not activate Wright and does not expect to do so at least for the remainder of this road trip.

With no more Minor League games to play, Wright must figure out how to prove to the club that he is ready to return without actually participating in game-speed activities.

His plan is to stand in on bullpen sessions, take live batting practice and field grounders before games, all while going through the daily rehab routine that has consumed much of his life the past two years.

"I truly believe that it's going to happen," Wright said. "It's just a matter of when."

In 12 Minor League games, Wright hit .171 with a .404 OPS, completing his stay there with consecutive nine-inning efforts at third base. Yet while Mets doctors had fully cleared Wright to appear in Minor League games, both Wright and Callaway -- citing the "speed of the game" -- said the standard is different for him to receive Major League clearance.

"It's up to me to now prove that I can go play at this level, because it's certainly a different level than the Minor Leagues," Wright said. "I don't want to be a liability out there."

Neither Wright nor J.P. Ricciardi, one of the front-office executives who met with him Friday, would offer specifics on what the team must see to allow him to play. Wright also said he does not expect the issue to become combative, noting that "I want them to feel comfortable with what I'm bringing to the table."

The Mets hold an insurance policy on Wright's contract, which has allowed them to recoup 75 percent of his salary for most of the past two seasons. But Wright, who is making $20 million this year, said it has never been discussed in his dealings with the team; he does not expect that to be an obstacle preventing his return, either.

In short, Wright -- who has at times expressed doubt that he would make it back to the Majors -- anticipates a return to the Majors this season. He just does not know exactly when it will happen.

"The perseverance and the work that I've put in over the last two years, it would mean the world to me to be able to suit up," Wright said. "I've got two young daughters that have never seen me play, so it would mean a lot to me to have them there. It would certainly mean a lot for the Met fans.

"The goal has always been to make it back to the big leagues. I'm confident that will happen after I show the coaching staff and the front office that I can go through these workouts, and that I can do some of the things they're asking of me. When that happens, for me it will be a very fulfilling feeling."