PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — The beginning of spring training also marks the start of a delicate dance between the Mets and their captain, David Wright, whose battered body has been limited to 75 games and 289 at-bats the last two seasons.
Wright, 34, lost much of last year when he needed surgery to correct a herniated disc in his neck. It was another complication for the third baseman, who also is saddled with a chronic back condition that brings uncertainty into his availability.
Manager Terry Collins hopes to accommodate Wright’s desire to collect spring training at-bats, especially important considering the time he’s missed. But first Collins said he wants to put a plan on paper to manage Wright’s workload.
“We’ve got to get David into games earlier than we did last year just to make sure we know what we’ve got, so that he knows where he’s going to stand,” Collins said. “He feels good, he took some good batting practice again today. He starts throwing this week. We’re going to be cautious with him.”
A visa issue will delay the arrival of closer Jeurys Familia until at least Tuesday. Familia is the only pitcher or catcher who did not report when required Sunday. Col lins said the Mets expect to start the season without Familia, who likely will be suspended by MLB for his offseason domestic-violence arrest. If so, setup man Addison Reed is set to begin the season as closer.
“We’re all pulling certainly for [Familia] to be able to get through this mentally and continue to be the pitcher that he’s been the last couple of years,” Collins said. “But we’re lucky to have Addison that can pick up the slack right now.”
Collins has “heard raves” about the commitment Yoenis Cespedes has shown since signing a four-year, $110-million deal to return to the Mets. For much of the offseason, he has been a regular in workouts at the team’s complex. “He knows where he’s going to be next year,” Collins said. “There’s nothing hanging over his head.” . . . Michael Conforto will get plenty of spring training at-bats, and though he appears destined to be squeezed out of the crowded outfield, Collins insisted that making the team is within reach. “If he starts swinging the bat, it’s going to be hard to keep him off,” said the manager, who intends to give Conforto some time in centerfield but not at first base.