Posted on February 28, 2017, by Bryan Zarpentine
It’s deja vu all over again for the New York Mets, as team captain and third baseman David Wright has been diagnosed with an injury that threatens to put him on the shelf for a significant period of time. Wright returned to New York on Monday night and was diagnosed Tuesday morning with a shoulder impingement, according to Mets GM Sandy Alderson. The injury makes Wright questionable at best to be available for opening day.
The 34-year old Wright has had a string of injuries in recent years. He missed more than four months in 2015 after he was diagnosed with spinal stenosis, a chronic back condition he will have to manage for the rest of his career. However, he did return late in the season to help the Mets reach the World Series. Last season, he was sidelined at the end of May and never returned after undergoing surgery for a herniated disc in his neck. Doctors believe his current shoulder issue is a byproduct of that surgical procedure.
Alderson says that Wright has felt soreness in his shoulder throughout spring training. Wright has only been throwing the ball in private sessions this spring, being relegated to DH duty in spring training games. He will now have to wait even longer until he can resume normal baseball activities with regard to throwing the ball.
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There’s also a chance that Wright suffers a setback to this shoulder injury or one of his other ailments, further delaying the start to his season. However, the team maintains that the impingement in his shoulder is a normal, if not expected, part of Wright’s recovery from the herniated disc in his neck.
“I don’t think we’re at that point, the point where concern is at a more heightened level,” Alderson told reporters Tuesday morning. “This is all part of the process of rehabilitating from the neck surgery. It’s taking longer than I’m sure David would have hoped and we would have hoped, but it’s part of the process.”
Despite the setback, there doesn’t seem to be a huge amount of concern on the part of Wright and the Mets, as there is no structural damage to the shoulder.
“I talked to him this morning and I think he’s reassured. There’s nothing structurally wrong,” Alderson said. “It’s a matter of continuing to exercise and shutting down the throwing program to eliminate the irritation. I think all of those things probably make him more optimistic because there’s nothing structurally wrong.”
Alderson says Wright will refrain from throwing for at least two weeks. Assuming the shoulder problem subsides by then, he will take the next couple of weeks to slowly ramp up his throwing. In the meantime, Wright will be able to continue to play in spring training games as a DH. However, it’s unlikely he’ll be ready to play third base by opening day, and it’s doubtful the Mets will put him on the opening day roster if he can’t play the field.
Without Wright, Jose Reyes will likely take over as the team’s primary third baseman. Wilmer Flores is also an option at third base until Wright returns. If Wright isn’t ready for opening day, it also opens up a spot on the team’s bench for an extra infielder like T.J. Rivera, Matt Reynolds, or Gavin Cecchini.
This setback for Wright is obviously disappointing, but not completely unexpected after all of the injuries Wright has dealt with in recent years. On the surface, this appears to be a minor setback, especially since he will continue to serve as a DH during spring training. But until Wright returns to the field on a full-time basis, it’s hard to predict what he’ll be able to contribute to the Mets in 2017, which for New York is deja vu all over again.