PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - Maybe David Wright can give the Mets a boost in a September playoff race. Maybe the third baseman and team captain can arrive even earlier than that.
Those hopes became more real Monday night as Wright, serving as the designated hitter, went 1-for-3 with a single and a walk in his first minor-league rehab game since he landed on the disabled list in April.
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Wright, playing for the Class A St. Lucie Mets, said he felt "pretty good" after his return. But Wright, who turns 33 in December, realizes he needs a lot more prep work now because of his spinal stenosis condition, which results in a narrowing of the spinal canal.
"When I was 21, I could just roll out of bed and do a couple of twists and turns, and I was ready to go," he said. "Now it's a whole different beast."
Wright estimates his current pregame stretching routine lasts about 90 minutes.
On Monday night, Wright, who saw a total of 18 pitches in his four plate appearances, faced lefthander Mat Batts, who throws his fastball in the range of 84-86 mph, followed by righthander Jake Reed (92-93 mph).
Against Batts, Wright hit a routine fly to center, lined a single over the shortstop and walked. Against Reed, Wright popped out to second base on a 92-mph fastball.
Wright swung at and missed only one pitch and fouled back three others.
"I'm glad I got to see the righty at the end," he said. "I feel fairly comfortable against lefties. But to see the righty -- the guy had good run. I had a good take on a slider. It was good to see the lefty and the righty, a bit of everything."
Wright was pleased with his baserunning. He went from first to third on a single and scored from third on a grounder.
The next task comes Tuesday night, when he plans to play third base for five innings. He has yet to slide while running the bases or dive while fielding a ball.
"It will be a good test for me tomorrow," he said. "I'm going to try to play within myself and not go crazy.''
Wright said that in between at-bats, he went into the clubhouse and sneaked some peeks at how the Mets were doing against the Rockies. " Watching our game in New York, I saw [Daniel] Murphy's big two-run single," he said. "It fired me up.
"I know there are still some steps for me to go. But it gets me pumped up to try to help those guys out because they are playing great baseball."