Wright takes grounders, hits at Citi Field
Tuesday marks third baseman's first time working out at ballpark since April
NEW YORK -- David Wright emerged from Citi Field's home clubhouse Tuesday before a 4-0 victory over the Padres and back-slapped a security guard, asking about all that's new. He inquired about radio broadcaster Howie Rose and glad-handed so many others -- happy, clearly, just to be present again.
This was the start of something fresh: Wright's first day working out at Citi Field since April. Though Tuesday was not his first foray into baseball activities -- Wright threw, took ground balls and hit -- since being diagnosed with spinal stenosis in May, it was his first time performing a full range of them on Major League turf.
"Today was a real successful day for him," manager Terry Collins said.
It was, in essence, the beginning of the end of Wright's months-long rehab. Though he and the Mets remain hesitant to put a timetable on his return, the general assumption is it will take no longer than a month; Wright, Collins suggested, could even appear in Minor League rehab games as soon as next week.
That is all still to be determined, in large part based upon how Wright feels. But Tuesday, he was well enough to make tangible progress at Citi Field, four days after back specialist Dr. Robert Watkins cleared him to do so in Los Angeles.
"I have some general goals in my mind, but for me it's meeting the challenges every day, making sure I continue to get my rehab work along with the baseball work, and when I'm ready, I'm ready," Wright said. "I'm rushing it as much as I can. The last thing I want to do is rush it too much and have a setback. But I understand that with the doctor's blessing that I got on Friday, that it's time to start ramping up baseball stuff.
"I don't think there's much of a question [playing this season]. For me, the biggest thing is just time."
Throughout this process, Wright said, he has experienced good days and bad days. But unlike several months ago, when he appeared at Petco Park in San Diego and discussed his future in frank, emotional terms, this version of Wright was brimming with optimism.
The third baseman says he's watched every Mets game he's missed since first sustaining a hamstring strain in mid-April, and he is thrilled with the trades his team made in recent days. He wants to return imminently, but he knows that's unrealistic, as is "the expectation that you wake up one day and all of the sudden you're completely normal." In many ways, Wright will never be completely normal again. He'll always have to manage his condition.
But Wright is inching in that direction, back into a somewhat regular routine at Citi Field. Tuesday's workout was a significant diversion from his schedule in California, where he spent the past few days taking batting practice at a local public cage and ground balls on a Little League field.
Asked if anyone recognized him, Wright flashed his wry smile of old.
"I haven't been gone that long," Wright said.