ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - A nearly four-month journey that began when David Wright injured his hamstring sliding into second base will come to a close Monday night when the Mets' captain plays for the first time in a game since April 14.
Wright will be the designated hitter for Class A St. Lucie and is expected to play third base Tuesday. Both stints are expected to last five innings. "We'll see where he goes from there," general manager Sandy Alderson said.
After Wright's initial hamstring injury, he was diagnosed with lumbar spinal stenosis in May. He spent months rehabbing with a back specialist in Los Angeles before ramping up his baseball activities last week in Port St. Lucie.
On Monday night, the Mets will get their first look at whether Wright can help them down the stretch and in future seasons. Wright, 32, is owed $87 million from 2016 to 2020.
"This is all new to all of us," manager Terry Collins said. "I talked to him today. He's excited to get into the batter's box. He thinks it's going to be fast, but he doesn't know, either. He's probably going to play two, get one off, play two more, have another one off and then maybe play three. We'll just take it day by day. There are no numbers set down for this guy. He will determine everything. He swings good, he'll be back fast. He struggles, it'll be a little longer."
Cuddyer all set to return
Michael Cuddyer (knee) finished his rehab assignment Saturday and will be activated before Monday night's game against Colorado. While in Port St. Lucie, Cuddyer fouled a ball off a toe. Though it didn't slow his return, he was in a great deal of pain, according to Collins.
"You send them down there, they get hurt worse," he joked.
The Mets will announce the corresponding move Monday. Rookie Michael Conforto and utilityman Eric Campbell -- the leading candidates to get sent down -- accompanied the team back to New York.
Collins hinted this weekend that Conforto would be the odd man out because the Mets want him to get at-bats rather than sit, but Alderson hinted the opposite Sunday.
"Our mindset is we want the best 25 players we can put on the field," Alderson said. "Issues of development, etc., are secondary to whether anybody can help us now. That's all relative based on who's doing what and comparisons among players."
Conforto, who went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts Sunday, is batting .222. The Mets expect to see five lefthanded starters in the next week, so the lefty-hitting Conforto might not start much.
Goin' to Kansas City?
The preliminary schedule for 2016 has the Mets opening the season with an interleague series in Kansas City, according to a source. The team would not confirm the schedule because it has not been released.