Wright says beaning remains in the back of his mind

David Wright gets drilled in the head by

David Wright gets drilled in the head by a fourth-inning fastball from the Giants' Matt Cain on an 0-and-2 count. (Credit: Photo by David Pokress)

If David Wright were a different sort of athlete and a different sort of man, he would say he doesn't think about it when he gets in the batter's box.

He would say he doesn't think about the 93-mph fastball from San Francisco's Matt Cain that struck him on the side of his batting helmet and left him face down in the Citi Field dirt Aug. 15.

He would say suffering a concussion, spending the night in the hospital and going on the disabled list for the first time in his career is all completely behind him.

But David Wright is not that sort of athlete and not that sort of man. He admitted before yesterday's Mets-Nationals game that the incident still is "in the back of my head" when he's at the plate.

He feels himself flinching more than usual when pitches come inside, even if his performance since his Sept. 1 return shows only a slight drop-off from his pre-beaning numbers.

"I think that it's always going to be there," Wright said before going 1-for-2 with two walks in the Mets' 3-2 win. "I don't think that's something where you get a couple at-bats and all of a sudden it goes away. I'm aware, it's in the back of my head, but you get in the box and you get locked in and it's just muscle memory from doing this so many times that your body just does it.

"But of course in the back of your mind, it's there. I think it's only kind of natural, kind of normal. Hopefully, the more at-bats you get, the more comfortable you feel. There wasn't necessarily anything prohibiting me from going in there and doing what I did before I got hit, but of course you see a ball that kind of comes up and in, it makes you flinch a little more than normal."

Wright is batting .258 with two home runs and 13 RBIs in 66 at-bats since returning and is at .315-10-68 overall. He said he's noticed that he's slightly more apt to bend away from an inside pitch - even for just an instant - than he was before Aug. 15.

"I think it's just kind of instinctive that you see a ball coming up there that your first thought is to get out of the way rather than give it a split-second to see if it's a breaking ball or fastball," Wright said. "I think that will hopefully weed itself out and gradually go away where you feel comfortable that you can give it that split-second longer, see what it is and still trust yourself that you can get out of the way."

Wright said he is symptom-free, which is one thing that has gone right in a Mets season in which very little has. He did not want to go on the DL in the immediate aftermath of the beaning. But the Mets - probably chastened by their inept handling of Ryan Church's post-concussion syndrome last season - insisted he take a seat. Wright now acknowledges that was the correct path to follow.

"I had more time to do what I had to do to get back instead of rushing something and coming back on my timetable, which would have been probably too quickly," he said. "It allowed me to relax and do things the right way, the way doctors wanted them done. It allowed me to be honest with how I felt instead of wanting to get back in the lineup and maybe doing something that could hurt me. In hindsight, it was probably the right way to handle things."

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