NEW YORK -- Throughout the past month, as he watched the Mets' games in Flushing and elsewhere, David Wright typically sat on the dugout bench in a blue hooded sweatshirt. He did not put on his uniform top because he was not technically a member of the team; since May 28, 2016, Wright has spent each of the Mets' 433 games on the disabled list.
That changed Tuesday, when the Mets activated their captain from the 60-day DL for the final six games of his career. For the first time in more than two years, Wright slipped a Mets jersey over his shoulders for a game.
"To say it's a good feeling is an understatement," Wright said. "It's been a long time coming … a lot of time, a lot of hard work, so to be able to suit up and go out there, and just the opportunity to get the chance to play means the world to me."
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It is a chance that, for at least parts of the past two years, Wright was not sure he would have again. Since his last big league game, Wright has undergone neck, back and shoulder surgeries, beseeching his body again and again to do things it refused to do. Only recently, as he played in a dozen rehab games for two Mets Minor League affiliates, did Wright acknowledge privately that his condition is not going to improve.
That prompted him and the Mets to reach an agreement in which they would activate him this week for six final games, including a start at third base Saturday against the Marlins. In that contest, Wright will play alongside Jose Reyes, his constant companion on the left side of the Mets' infield from 2004-11.
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What Wright does before then remains in question. While team officials have noted they would like to give him at least one pinch-hit opportunity during the week, assistant general manager John Ricco said on Tuesday that, out of respect for the Braves' pursuit of home-field advantage in the National League playoffs, the Mets will not use Wright in any game that is close. That could mean Wright's first appearance in a game will not occur until Friday against the Marlins.
If the Mets do use Wright before Saturday, he said he "would like a little bit of a heads-up just because it takes me a little while to get going, and I want to make sure I'm prepared physically."
"I'm going to be so nervous about just trying to make the plays and make some contact that I hope there's not any time for anything else," Wright said, referring to his emotions. "I'm real nervous, I'll tell you that. I'm real excited. I've already got the butterflies going. So it's going to be a weird, yet really fulfilling feeling."
The Mets will open the Citi Field gates a half hour earlier than usual on Saturday, at 4:30 p.m. ET, to allow fans to watch Wright take batting practice.
"I'll take it all in while I'm out there as much as I can, and try to savor these emotions and savor these feelings," Wright said. "I've never really allowed myself to do it, and I'm going to try to do it as best as I can."
The Mets' all-time leader in hits (1,777), RBIs (970) and runs (949), and a career .296/.376/.491 hitter, Wright ranks in the Top 10 in franchise history in just about every meaningful offensive category. Since he returned to the clubhouse earlier this month, he has received accolades from the Red Sox -- Dustin Pedroia gave him a No. 5 panel from the Green Monster scoreboard -- the Phillies and the Nationals. Assuredly, the Mets have a significant tribute planned for Wright, who became the fourth captain in franchise history in 2013.
It will be, in Wright's estimation, a "unique" end to his career.
"Unique because it's been so long since I've played," Wright said. "Unique because I've understood the work and the time and the effort that's gone in to trying to get my body as good as it's going to get, knowing that there are some things that just aren't going to be right. … You think you can play forever and with me, unfortunately, my body is just not allowing that to happen. That is a unique feeling.
"All in all, it's nice to accomplish … being activated, but at the same time I want to put on as good of a show as I possibly can."