In the course of his 10 seasons with the Mets, David Wright has played with a number of nagging injuries. So when his right hamstring began bothering him about a week ago, he thought it was something he could play through.
"I think a lot of guys take pride in going out there," Wright said Saturday from the dugout after watching the Mets' 4-3 loss in 12 innings to the Kansas City Royals. "I didn't think by playing this would happen. I don't think anyone would."
"This" is a grade 2 right hamstring strain that sent Wright to the 15-day disabled list and could keep him off the field for as many as five weeks, according to manager Terry Collins.
The injury was confirmed a day after Wright came up lame near the end of the Mets' series-opening win over the Royals Friday night. In the 10th inning, Wright sprinted down the first- base line to beat out an infield hit, but he began to limp two-thirds of the way there and then clutched his right hamstring just as he hit the bag.
Wright had an MRI at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan Saturday morning that revealed the strain.
"There are certain guys you almost can't afford to lose, and he would fit that category for us," Collins said.
The Mets called up Mike Baxter from Triple-A Las Vegas to take Wright's roster spot. Justin Turner took Wright's place at third Saturday and first baseman Josh Satin took his No. 3 spot in the batting order.
Now that he knows Wright is going to be out for a while, Collins indicated that he might move Daniel Murphy from second base to third base and Eric Young Jr. from leftfield to second base.
Wright, who started at third base for the National League All-Stars in July, was the one sure thing in a Mets lineup riddled with question marks.
The team captain signed a seven-year, $122-million contract extension this past offseason to stay in New York. He is hitting .309 with 16 home runs and 54 RBIs -- perhaps his best season at the plate since 2008 -- and played in 105 of the Mets' first 107 games before going on the DL.
Though the Mets aren't anywhere near contending status, they did achieve a measure of respectability during the past seven weeks by playing their best baseball of the season. That level of play could be difficult to maintain without Wright in the lineup. They entered play Saturday ranked second-to-last in the National League with a .238 batting average.
"David Wright is a star, and you're going to miss his presence in the lineup," Collins said. "Any team that loses their No. 1 player, it's a huge hole to fill. We're not asking anybody to try to be David. They've got to be themselves. But somebody has to hit in those lineups. We can't leave it blank."
Added Baxter: "Somebody is going to have to step up and we're going to have to try to pick up the slack for him. It's a big hole to fill. I don't know if one guy can do it. It's probably going to have to come from a couple of us. Hopefully we do."
Wright has been fairly healthy throughout his career; this is only his third trip to the disabled list. He missed two weeks in 2009 with a concussion after getting hit in the head while batting against San Francisco pitcher Matt Cain. In 2011, he missed two months with a stress fracture in his lower back.
Wright said he does not think the tear could have been avoided. "It's part of the game,'' he said. "You play some games and injuries are bound to happen. I don't think there's any way the injury could have been prevented, but here we are, and you deal with it."