David Wright connects on a sixth inning base hit against...

David Wright connects on a sixth inning base hit against the Atlanta Braves. (April 7, 2012) Credit: Jim McIsaac

PHILADELPHIA - Less than 24 hours after sounding like a lock for the disabled list, David Wright returned to the lineup Saturday with a fractured pinkie finger and Terry Collins seemed to be just as surprised as everyone else.

"I was doubtful he was going to be OK," Collins said of Friday's conversation with Wright. "But he is OK, so that's the good part."

And Wright showed just how OK he was in the top of the first, homering to center on the first pitch he saw.

The Mets were concerned enough about Wright landing on the DL that they already had summoned Josh Satin from Triple-A Buffalo just in case. But Collins was satisfied after watching Wright take batting practice indoors Saturday morning. As for Wright, his tone was much different than a day earlier in explaining the decision.

"I guess in an ideal world, if you weren't a baseball player, you'd probably splint it up for a little while and let it heal that way," Wright said. "But I don't have that luxury of time right now, so it's going to heal on its own. It might take a little extra work doing it while paying at the same time, but I'm confident that it will heal correctly on its own."

Before Friday's game, Wright had talked about how he couldn't grip a bat or baseball, which is a serious problem in his line of work. But he did field some grounders while the Mets took BP, and during that night's 5-2 win over the Phillies, Wright tried hitting inside the clubhouse batting cages.

The additional day of treatment apparently worked wonders. As Wright talked Saturday, he clutched a piece of clay to help strengthen his grip. But aside from some extra padding for hitting, Wright didn't seem too concerned about playing again.

"I wouldn't go out there and play if it was coin flip how I felt," Wright said. Obviously I feel pretty good and I feel close enough where I think I can go out there and help the team more than hurt it."

Collins was elated to deliver the news Saturday morning. The Mets dropped two of their three games without Wright, yet still managed to knock off Cliff Lee in Friday's series opener. Wright, who injured the finger Monday sliding back into first base, was batting .583 (7-for-12) with a homer, three RBIs and a .647 on-base percentage.

"One of the things that I hope everybody reads into this is that this guy is tough, very tough," Collins said. "He loves to play, wants to play. But he's also professional enough to understand that when the medical people say look, our expertise says this needs rest, he rests."

The Mets didn't make it very easy on Wright, however, as the team's medical staff said he could play as long as he tolerated the pain. That put him in a difficult spot. After all, Wright was told the fractured finger will take six weeks to heal, and Collins held him up as an example for the rest of the team, which might not be the best message after what the Mets' worrisome injury history in recent years.

"I think it's going to be huge for us," Collins said. "I think when you see this guy who's going out there, the face of this team, the face of this organization, going out there, playing with a broken finger, the hamstrings may not be as tight as they were at one time.

"I don't mean to make a joke about it. But if you're a guy on this team, and you're seeing the star on this team is playing with a broken finger. If I have got a sore shoulder, throw some aspirin down and let's go. Let's tee it up."