PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — David Wright didn’t homer Friday night as he had when he returned from his nightmarish stint on the disabled list last season, an absence during which he was diagnosed with the back condition spinal stenosis.
But the results were just as encouraging. Wright went 2-for-3 in his first real game action of spring training.
“I’ll take this,” he said after the Mets’ 12-7 loss to the Nationals. “Obviously, with game-type situations, these guys are well ahead of me as far as the speed of the game and getting the at-bats. For me, it was being able to put together good at-bats. So I was able to get the hit and get some confidence going early. I had much better at-bats after that.”
In five innings at third base, Wright easily handled his only defensive chance. He ran the bases twice, including after his first at-bat, when he lashed a single on the first pitch he saw.
“It was a good test right out of the gate,” Wright said. “But I’m glad that I passed.”
Such a mundane event as a Grapefruit League debut ordinarily wouldn’t count as noteworthy. But with Wright entering his first full season dealing with his back condition, the Mets have been cautious.
After the 2015 season ended, Wright took a month off, then held off on any baseball activities until February.
“He looked all right. He looked healthy,” manager Terry Collins said. “We’ve got to get him more playing time, obviously, so we get a better idea how he’s going to respond to a lot of innings. But he feels good. It’s nice to see him back out there. We’ll see how he responds tomorrow.”
When the Mets make a trip to the west coast of Florida to play the Yankees, Blue Jays and Red Sox, Wright will stay behind to play in minor-league games. Collins also hopes to play Wright four straight games at the end of camp.
With the Mets halfway through their Grapefruit League slate, Wright slowly had been building toward his first game. He came through it without an issue.
After taking Saturday’s game off, Wright is to play in consecutive games Sunday and Monday, presenting his back with another test as he ramps up for the season.
“The back felt good today,” Wright said. “We’ll see how it feels tomorrow. That’s the interesting thing. It’s rebounding, seeing how it feels the next day.”
Notes & quotes: The results of each start have gotten progressively worse for 43-year-old Bartolo Colon, who was clobbered by the Nationals for eight runs and nine hits in five innings. His ERA is 10.03 in three outings, but he shrugged off the numbers. “I’m not too worried about it here,” said Colon, who leans heavily on the fastball but focused primarily on breaking pitches . . . Relievers Erik Goeddel and Josh Edgin will pitch in a minor-league game tomorrow, their first outings of spring training. Edgin is coming off Tommy John surgery. “It’s another step in the road to get really excited for,” he said. It also will be Goeddel’s first game action. He had been sidelined by a lat injury.