NEW YORK -- David Wright wanted to play, just as he always does.
Terry Collins told him no, as he knows he sometimes will need to. Wright understood.
The Mets' captain and third baseman realized that his manager had his best interest in mind Tuesday, when Collins scratched Wright from the lineup for the opener of the National League East showdown series with the Nationals. The Mets, who also played without first baseman Lucas Duda, beat the Nationals, 2-0.
"Maybe Terry is saving me a trip to the [disabled list]," Wright said after the game.
Wright admitted that Tuesday was a rough day in his ongoing battle with spinal stenosis. He came to Citi Field not feeling good, but thought he could do enough to get himself in the lineup.
"I said, 'I can't do that to you, to us, to the organization,'" Collins said. "You sacrificing yourself tonight could lead to a month."
The problem is that neither Collins nor Wright can be sure that holding him out Tuesday will allow Wright to play Wednesday. Even after he skipped this game and got treatment, Wright couldn't be sure.
"It's just day to day," Wright said. "That's the most frustrating thing. Basically, I did everything to try to get it somewhat manageable."
On this day, everything wasn't enough.
"Most of the days are fairly mediocre," he said. "Today was more towards the bad."
Duda's situation seems more straightforward. He complained of back stiffness after Sunday's game in Colorado. He was examined Monday and given medications and a shot.
He didn't play Tuesday, and Collins said he won't start Wednesday against Nationals left-hander Gio Gonzalez.
The hope is that he'll be ready to play Thursday against Stephen Strasburg.
Duda has been struggling lately, with a .176 batting average and one RBI in 34 at-bats over his last 11 games.
Eric Campbell took Duda's spot at first base Tuesday. Matt Reynolds, making his Major League debut, played third base in place of Wright.
"I should apologize to [Reynolds]," Collins said. "His first Major League game, and it's against [Max Scherzer]."
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Reynolds, who was just called up Tuesday, was hitting .238 at Triple-A Las Vegas. He was 3-for-23 with 11 strikeouts over the last six games. He went 0-for-3 in his debut.
The Mets are already playing without catcher Travis d'Arnaud, and general manager Sandy Alderson said Tuesday they aren't close to having a target date for d'Arnaud's return. d'Arnaud, who went on the disabled list April 26 with soreness in his right shoulder, is home in California working with the therapist and trainer he deals with in the offseason.