Eight hundred and fifty-one days after his most recent major-league game, David Wright became an active player Tuesday, on schedule with his prescripted career finale during the Mets’ season-concluding homestand.
Wright will be available to pinch hit all week and will start at third base, alongside shortstop Jose Reyes, Saturday night against the Marlins. He didn’t get into the game Tuesday night, though, as the Mets lost to the Braves, 7-3, after Noah Syndergaard’s six scoreless innings and another bullpen collapse. The sparse Citi Field crowd repeatedly chanted “We want David!” and booed the pinch hitters chosen over him.
After missing 2 1/2 seasons due to three surgeries — neck, back, shoulder — and spinal stenosis, this isn’t how Wright, the Mets’ captain, imagined how it would end. And he is not at peace with this bow on what once looked like a potential Hall of Fame career.
“No. Of course not. I want to play,” Wright said. “But it’s just I’ve spent so long going through the rehab process and things aren’t getting any better. I would say I’m at peace with the work I’ve put in, knowing there was nothing else I could do. I’m certainly not at peace with my body not cooperating.”
But it’s not all sad.
“To say it’s a good feeling is an understatement,” Wright said. “It’s been a long time coming, and I can’t wait to put that jersey on tonight, for sure. A lot of time, a lot of hard work. To be able to suit up, to go out there and just the opportunity to get the chance to play means the world to me.
“I’m real nervous, I’ll tell you that. I’m real excited. I’ve got the butterflies going. It’s going to be a weird yet very fulfilling feeling.”
Assistant general manager John Ricco said it’s “unlikely” Wright will pinch hit against the Braves because of the Mets’ “sensitivity” toward Atlanta, which has clinched the NL East but is still playing for home-field advantage in the playoffs. In the event of a blowout — and an early blowout, at that, considering Wright needs a heads-up of approximately two innings to get ready — he might pinch hit.
That leaves the possibility of Wright making his re-debut Friday, one day before his scheduled start. Manager Mickey Callaway said he would have no qualms about that, despite the hours of preparation Wright needs before playing.
On the line when Wright does enter a game: a three-game homer streak compiled May 23-27, 2016.
“I would love to get him in the game when we get him an at-bat before Saturday happens,” Callaway said. “We’ll just have to see what the circumstances are. But either way, he’s going to go out there Saturday.”
Wright admitted this week, and Saturday in particular, will be different in two ways.
First, Wright said he’s “going to try to allow myself to get in the moment, which as a player you very rarely allow yourself.” And second, given his physical state, Wright acknowledged limited expectations of what he is able to do on the field.
“Hopefully, perform is the right word,” he said, half-joking. “I hope to go out there and do something that doesn’t embarrass me. … I’d definitely say that probably contact is more of a goal right now as opposed to performance.
“All in all, it’s nice to accomplish what I guess at this point more of a longer-term goal of being activated, but at the same time, wanting to put on as good a show as I possibly can — and at the same time soak it in.”