PHILADELPHIA — The text message was one of dozens on Jose Reyes’ phone after the Mets clinched the top NL wild-card berth on Saturday with a 5-3 win over the Phillies.
It included a picture of a hand holding a bottle of Amstel Light. The message read, “Cheers boys! Hell of a finish! Enjoy!”
The sender was David Wright, the Mets captain. He was not with the team because he is rehabbing in Los Angeles after June 16 neck surgery.
Reyes had a text message of his own for Wright, one he planned to deliver as soon as he cleaned up from the Mets’ postgame champagne celebration:
“You need to be there, man.”
Reyes was speaking of Wednesday’s National League wild-card game at Citi Field against the Giants or Cardinals.
“He has to be there,” Reyes told Newsday. “He’s the captain of the team.”
Said manager Terry Collins: “I think he’s going to meet us for Wednesday.”
Wright has visited the Mets a few times since having the surgery. He was not present at Citizens Bank Park when the Mets earned a playoff spot with Reyes at third base instead of Wright.
Making the playoffs again was mostly sweet for Reyes, who was released by the Rockies and re-signed by the Mets after finishing a suspension for violating baseball’s domestic abuse policy.
But there was a bittersweet element to clinching without Wright, who always will be linked to Reyes as the left side of the Mets’ infield when both were young.
“It’s hard to believe,” Reyes said. “Me and David, we basically played so many years together, playing different positions, and here I am playing third base, the position that David played every year. I mean, like, whoa, what’s going on here? I [wish] David was here with us right now.”
That is a sentiment shared by the rest of Wright’s teammates, catcher Travis d’Arnaud said.
“I’m sure he’s been watching every single pitch, every single inning, every single out,” d’Arnaud said. “He’s definitely here in spirit with all of us. For someone to not be in the clubhouse, but still feel like he’s in the clubhouse, it’s so crazy. It’s kind of indescribable almost. When he’s actually there, everybody’s going to be even more fired up.”
Among the Mets who have suffered season-ending injuries, Wright and Matt Harvey were not on hand for the clinching, but Jacob deGrom, Steven Matz and Neil Walker were.
Reyes, who went 1-for-4 with an RBI single on Saturday, is batting .267 with a .326 on-base percentage and .769 OPS in 60 games going into Sunday’s regular-season finale, which he likely will sit out.
Wright played in 37 games before succumbing to his neck injury. He is hoping to return in 2017, but there are no guarantees as he also deals with spinal stenosis, a serious back condition.
“Those guys are going to come back healthy,” Collins said. “Matt. Steven Matz. God willing, David.”