Downplaying the notion that there is tension between him and the Mets, David Wright revealed Saturday that he will meet with chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon soon and reiterated that he intends to play in a major-league game this month.
“The last thing that I want to portray is that there is some sort of rift between the Mets and me,” Wright said. “That’s false. There’s been communication. I know where they stand and they know where I stand.
“The communication, especially recently, has been fantastic, and I look forward to meeting with Jeff in the coming days and formulating a game plan from here to the end of September.’’
Wright spoke on the field at Citi Field minutes after the latest step in his comeback attempt: a simulated game against righthanders Anthony Swarzak and Tim Peterson. He also took grounders hit by bench coach Gary DiSarcina.
The Mets are planning another simulated game for Wright on Tuesday as he races the clock to return this year after more than 2 1/2 seasons on the disabled list. The Mets’ front office has cast doubt over whether he will meet their medical and physical criteria to play, with assistant general manager John Ricco saying Friday, “Honestly, it does get more difficult to foresee a situation where he could come back to that level.”
Saturday, though, was progress.
“In the field, we’re looking at the footwork. It was great,” Mickey Callaway said. “The throwing across the diamond, which was very good today. Timing at the plate, I think he feels like he could be a little bit better.
“You can see some things, and more importantly, it’s David feeling things, him knowing that he can go out there and perform. He’s played a ton of major-league games, so he knows he’s going to know when that time comes.”
Said Wright: “I’d like to have some better at-bats.”
The simulated game was conducted at live game speed. Swarzak was proving he was healthy (and subsequently was activated from the disabled list, having gotten past his shoulder inflammation). Peterson was getting work in (because the Mets have so many relievers).
In Wright’s approximately half-dozen at-bats Saturday, he had one batted ball of note: a home run off Peterson that landed about 10 rows back in right-center. “He crushed [it],” Callaway said.
Most of the rest of the two simulated innings contained weak or no contact. During one foul pop-up, second baseman Steven Matz ran into the short wall and netting behind first base, then laughed. The unusual stand-in infielders, around the horn from third: Callaway, Jacob deGrom, Matz and Zack Wheeler.
Among the onlookers: Wilpon, special assistant to the general manager Omar Minaya, pitching coach Dave Eiland and catchers Kevin Plawecki and Devin Mesoraco, plus Phillies infielder Asdrubal Cabrera (and his son, Meyer), who wandered out of the visitors’ clubhouse to greet old friends.
Wright, if he continues to feel OK, will do it again Tuesday, at which point there will be less than three weeks left in the season.
“The dialogue has been great, and I’m looking forward to taking a step forward with Jeff at some point early this week,” Wright said. “We’ll meet at some point and then go over if there’s some hurdles left or if they feel like I’m ready.”
Mets Hall of Famer Bud Harrelson, accompanied by his family, visited Citi Field for the first time in a half-decade Saturday to help raise awareness for the Alzheimer’s Association and those affected by the disease, both the patients and their caretakers. Harrelson, 74, has early-stage Alzheimer’s. … With Mesoraco (epidural injection in neck) expected to be out for about a week, the Mets added catcher Jose Lobaton from Triple-A Las Vegas on Saturday. They moved reliever Bobby Wahl (strained right hamstring) to the 60-day disabled list to make room on the 40-man roster.
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