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David Wright’s spinal stenosis requires unique set of rules concerning playing time

New York Mets third baseman David Wright (5)

New York Mets third baseman David Wright (5) drops the infield fly in the 8th inning on the ball hit by Philadelphia Phillies center fielder Odubel Herrera (37) against the Philadelphia Phillies during the Mets' home opener on Friday, April 8, 2016 at Citi Field. Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.

The David Wright Preservation Project is officially in full swing. As for the man himself, expect to see fewer of his swings on days he sits out.

Wright is gritting through the spinal stenosis diagnosis that sidelined him for more than four months of the 2015 season. The Mets are understandably cautious when it comes to their third baseman, so much so that Terry Collins said yesterday that Wright likely won’t be available to pinch hit on his rest days.

Wright, who has to go through an extensive warmup program before playing, sat out Saturday night’s chilly, rainy tilt against the Phillies, but although Collins said there was little chance Wright would pinch hit, he was ready to bat in the ninth.

Wright went to Collins toward the end of the game and said he had begun loosening up in the seventh and felt ready to pinch hit for the pitcher if the spot came up in the ninth (the Mets wound up ending the game two batters before that spot). Still, don’t expect that to be the norm.

“I just don’t know how much time he’ll need to get himself loosened up,” Collins said. “My guess is we will not have him on those certain nights [when he sits out]. When it warms up, we might.”

It is a fairly-unheard-of situation in baseball — a resting player being ruled out for the entire game, more or less regardless of what is taking place — but Wright is a unique case.

Collins said Friday that Wright’s more limited role was discussed thoroughly during spring training and that he was accepting of the situation. He was given the choice to sit out Saturday night’s game or Sunday’s, and made the call after Collins opined that Saturday night’s weather would be difficult to play in.

In the future, Collins said, they will take Wright’s schedule on a day-by-day basis. “You cannot sit there and write down a schedule,” he said. “It’s just absolutely impossible to do. All you’ll be doing will be scratching off days. ‘OK, he’s OK today so, oh geez, I had him planned for a day off today. Well, geez, he feels great today, we’ll play him tomorrow.’ We can’t do it. I’d rather have David Wright out one day than 15.”

Extra bases

Collins said he’s open to leaving Michael Conforto in the game against lefthanders and would consider starting him in some of those games, but that won’t be the norm, especially in tight games. “We’ve got a young man in our clubhouse who’s a pretty good player against lefthanded pitching, and that’s Juan Lagares,” he said. “Not only that, he might be the best centerfielder in the National League. It would be nice to get him into the game, which means somebody can’t play, and is it going to be Conforto? Is it going to be [Curtis] Granderson? We’ll determine that.”

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