Wright faces live pitching in wet conditions

September 11th, 2018

NEW YORK -- Muddy conditions limited to glorified live batting practice on Tuesday, taking his hacks against Justin Dunn and David Peterson -- two of the Mets' top-ranked pitching prospects. That was the extent of what was supposed to be a full-fledged simulated game for Wright, who did his best to make the most of the situation.

Before the Mets leave Thursday night for their final road trip of the season, Wright expects to have a conversation with chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon to determine his next steps -- including, potentially, the date of his first big league game since May 2016.

"They certainly know where I stand," Wright said. "Coming into this week, the goal was two simulated games. Now, I didn't get a chance to play defense, but that wasn't because of anything that I can control. We'll see where the conversation takes us, and hopefully work something out."

When Wright rejoined the Mets late last month, he and the team discussed "creative" ways to ramp him up to Major League speed, including the aforementioned simulated games. Wright's progression may continue on the road trip through Boston, Philadelphia and Washington, though the Mets will have to negotiate field times with the teams in those cities.

While Wright has said he is fine with returning at home or on the road, there is obvious upside to having him do so in front of his hometown fans. There is also the unresolved matter of the Mets' insurance policy on Wright's contract; each day that goes by lessens the financial impact of his return on team ownership.

For now, those concerns remain mostly theoretical.

"The biggest thing for me is just how my body responds," Wright said. "I would say the second-biggest thing is obviously results. We're getting to the point now … I want to put better swings on the ball. I want to swing at better pitches. It's just a matter of not only just putting the ball in play, but putting the ball in play with some authority."

More clarity should come after Wright's conversation with Wilpon.

"My long-term goal is to put that uniform on and go out and play again," Wright said. "I can't look too much beyond that."

Horwitz to take on new role

The Mets announced on Tuesday that Jay Horwitz, the team's director/vice president of public relations since 1980, will transition to a new role after this season. The club plans to reveal its full plans at a press conference Wednesday, with front-office members, current and former players in attendance.

Horwitz won the Fishel Award, given to the top media relations executive in baseball, in 1998.

Mets commemorate Sept. 11

As they have every year since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center in Manhattan, Mets players wore caps Tuesday representing five of the New York City service agencies that sent first responders to Ground Zero: the Police Department, Fire Department, Port Authority Police Department, Office of Emergency Management and Department of Sanitation. Over 100 uniformed representatives of those agencies also participated in an on-field salute prior to the game.

FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro, who was among the thousands of firefighters at Ground Zero, threw out Tuesday's ceremonial first pitch. Appointed fire chief on Sept. 12, 2001, Nigro oversaw all rescue and recovery operations, as well as the beginning of the FDNY's rebuild. Mets Hall of Famer John Franco, who played a key role in the team's relief efforts, caught Nigro's pitch.

Outside the ballpark, Mets employees planted a Survivor Tree -- a sapling grown from the branches of the Callery Pear tree recovered from Ground Zero after the attacks -- in honor of late Mets Hall of Famer Rusty Staub. A longtime public-service advocate, Staub founded Answer the Call: The New York Police Fire Widows' and Children's Benefit Fund over 30 years ago. It grew to provide over $145 million to the families of fallen FDNY, NYPD and PAPD heroes killed in the line of duty.

Mets first-year manager Mickey Callaway, who was a player for the Durham Bulls at the time of the attacks, recalled waking up that morning, watching the news all day and talking on the phone with his parents.

"It's pretty special to be in a Mets uniform," Callaway said. "It's a day that needs to be remembered. I'm proud to have this hat on, and be a New Yorker."