Underneath the dark cloud of another gloomy September, it is hard to see a silver lining -- unless you are David Wright. "I believe 100 percent," he said Thursday afternoon. "I'm all in for this organization."
Wright was all out in the third inning of the Mets' 4-2 loss Thursday night, though. A rough year grew rougher when Wright was hit on the helmet by a pitch from the Brewers' Johnny Hellweg and left the game. He ducked, but the 86 miles per hour changeup knocked the helmet off his head. Hellweg, a rookie, also hit the next batter, Lucas Duda, and had four walks and a wild pitch in his four innings. Wright was removed as a precaution, but Terry Collins said he passed the standard concussion tests.
"I'm feeling fine," said Wright, who recalled having had a concussion in 2009, when he was hit on the head with a pitch by the Giants' Matt Cain (on his return, he briefly wore an odd looking oversized helmet). "It felt a lot different this time than last time. It was a lot more clear and a lot less painful this time."
He added that he will be given more tests in the morning. When he fell, he landed on his right hand and jammed his thumb. "I think that will be fine also," he said. "Just one of those bad luck things, you know?"
Next season will be better. Wright promised as much at Citi Field before the game, when he said, "With the money coming off the books, with some of the younger minor league pieces that we have -- I guess trade chips, per se -- I'm obviously expecting this team to be a lot better next year than we've been in previous years."
His belief starts with the club's pitching depth, including Dillon Gee. He was a huge question mark in late May, having begun the season poorly after having missed half of last season with shoulder surgery. Then, starting with a win over the Yankees on May 30, he turned his year around. His six innings last night brought him to 199 for the season, basically at the 200 signpost that connotes durability and dependability.
"I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little disappointed. I wanted it for sure. It would have been a nice milestone to hit," Gee said, having been removed for a pinch hitter in the sixth with the Mets trailing 4-1.
Still, he finished with a winning record (12-11) and -- the four-run second Thursday night notwithstanding -- a restored command that allows him to throw any of his pitches on any count. "That," Collins said, "is what makes him successful."
Wright is mindful that Gee and other pitchers have made strides, that younger players have been evaluated and that the club is jettisoning $70 million in salaries. He believes hitters will want to play for a team with solid pitching. "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em," he said.
"Also, the burden falls on us to be better as well," he said before the game. "You can't go out and expect to sign every free agent, expect to make every big trade. Some of these holes need to be filled from within and that's up to us to go out there and get better."
Notes and quotes: The Mets' Eric Young Jr. stole two bases, giving him 44 for the season and tying him for the league lead with Milwaukee's Jean Segura, who is out with a hamstring strain.