PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — David Wright spent much of his offseason consulting doctors, therapists and specialists. The Mets’ captain hoped the research would yield more answers about how to manage spinal stenosis — the back condition he must deal with for the rest of his career.
Wright intends to cut down on his side work, even though it runs contrary to his instincts. But when it comes to answering the critical question — how many games should he be expected to play this year — he remained ambiguous.
“I want to be out there as much as I can, and I think it’s impossible to say ‘X’ amount of games,” Wright said Friday. “I think it’s easy to sit here and guess. I’m not going to offer a guess, because I’d like to be out there as much as possible.”
General manager Sandy Alderson has mentioned the 130-game benchmark. But the nature of the back condition essentially has turned Wright’s availability into a crapshoot.
Manager Terry Collins reiterated that he and Wright will discuss options sometime next week. One plan centers around easing Wright’s workload during camp and before games.
It’s enough of a possibility that Wright took the step of researching his performance by the amount of at-bats he received during spring training. His own research showed no correlation.
But judging by history, the manager again will face a familiar challenge in trying to rein in Wright, who reported to camp well before position players are required to do so.
By his own admission, in the past, Wright concealed the severity of injuries so he could stay in the lineup. He has been known to talk his way into games during scheduled days off.
Wright described a new effort to be better about communicating with Collins about the condition of his back. Still, he stopped short of establishing a target for how often he expects to play.
“If I feel good and I’m producing and it’s something that’s not hurting my back or hurting the team, then I want to be out there,” said Wright, who hit .289 with five homers in only 39 regular-season games last season. “If that’s 130 games, then great. If it’s 140 games, even better. I’d like to play as much as I possibly can. But I have to be smart about it.”
Wright, 33, has averaged only 95 games in his last three seasons.
As for his back condition, Wright described experiencing good days and bad days with his back, a cycle he is resigned to enduring. But the time since his diagnosis last summer has allowed for more education, which he believes will aid in the management of his back condition.
Said Wright: “I think we’ve come up with a plan that will allow me to get ready for a season.”
Notes & quotes: The Mets got their first piece of hard evidence of just how much last year’s run to the World Series has re-energized the fan base. According to a team spokesman, more than 1,500 packed into the grounds of Tradition Field on Friday, when Mets pitchers and catchers held their first official workout. It is the largest turnout ever for the start of camp in Port St. Lucie, where the Mets began training in 1988. The crowd dwarfed last year’s turnout of roughly 700 fans . . . Former Mets infielder Juan Uribe has agreed to a one-year deal with the Indians worth nearly $5 million, according to FoxSports.com. Uribe, 36, hit .219 in 44 games after his trade from the Braves to the Mets, but he delivered clutch hits and earned praise from teammates for his steadying influence in the clubhouse.
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