Posted on June 15, 2016 by Bryan Zarpentine
For the second straight year, New York Mets’ third baseman David Wright is in the midst of a long-term stint on the DL. Last year, Wright was diagnosed with spinal stenosis, a chronic back condition that will be managed on a daily basis for the rest of his career. Last month, a herniated disc in his neck sidelined Wright, ultimately sending him to the DL after a week of debate. Now the Mets’ captain is considering surgery to address the issue in his neck, an option that could potentially end his season.
When Wright first went to the DL earlier this month, he was prescribed rest from baseball activities for six to eight weeks, with surgery being possible but not likely in the immediate future. However, surgery appears to be becoming more of an option, as Wright is currently discussing his options with team doctors and Dr. Robert Watkins, who oversaw his rehab from spinal stenosis last year. A decision could come from Wright later this week. If surgery is the choice, recovery from the procedure is roughly three months, which could effectively end Wright’s 2016 season.
GM Sandy Alderson commented on the situation Tuesday. “I always prefer certainty over uncertainty, so having some resolution will be helpful,” Alderson told reporters. “False hope is never useful, or not often useful. We like to be pragmatic.” Alderson made it clear that no one should assume that surgery is the route Wright will take.
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Wilmer Flores has been the primary fill-in at third base since Wright went to the DL, and has gotten hot as of late, hitting .371 in the month of June. The Mets also acquired Kelly Johnson last week, giving them another option at third base. If Wright opts for surgery and is ruled out for the remainder of the season, the Mets could also entertain the possibility of shifting Neil Walker to third base and bringing up Dilson Herrera, who many consider to be the second baseman of the future.
If Wright has the surgery, it may also have an impact on New York’s plans at the trade deadline. Alderson insists that there’s no urgency in Wright’s decision, as there are no full-time third baseman available on the trade market at the moment. However, some clarity on the situation sooner rather than later may be helpful. The Mets are sputtering offensively with Wright, Lucas Duda, and Travis d’Arnaud all on the DL, not to mention Walker and Michael Conforto battling nagging injuries, and adding help offensively from outside the organization may be a necessity.
Before going to the DL, Wright was having an up and down season, hitting seven home runs in 37 games, but hitting just .233 and striking out at an alarming rate. The team would like to get him back later in the year if he can get healthy, but if that’s not in the cards, it’s best for the Mets to know as soon as possible, so they can decide if they want to proceed at third base with Flores and company or pursue options outside the organization. Cuban free agent Yulieski Gurriel could be a possibility, although the Mets have not openly expressed interest in him. Of course, if Wright has surgery and is lost for the year, that could change.