David Wright’s latest comeback attempt ended in a cloud of doubt Monday night, when the Mets announced that shoulder pain has ended his minor-league rehab assignment. It’s the latest harsh note in what could be a long and tortured coda for a brilliant career.
Wright, 34, remained steadfast in his determination to play again for the Mets. His resolve hadn’t withered despite a body battered over the last three years by spinal stenosis and the lingering impact of major neck surgery. But in a statement Monday, he expressed what could be an ominous reference to making a decision once he is seen by doctors.
“After playing in a few games, I continued to have shoulder pain,” said Wright, who will be re-examined in New York sometime this week. “So I decided to go to the doctor and get it checked out. [I] will make any decisions going forward after my appointment.”
Wright’s quest to return ended after three rehab games with Class A Port St. Lucie. He went 1-for-10 and played two games at third, his first action in the field since May 2016.
Wright has played only 75 major-league games since 2015, and the Mets already have hinted that they will seek a long-term replacement at third base this offseason. After this year, he’ll be owed $47 million on the three seasons remaining on his contract. Insurance has allowed the Mets to recoup a portion of that money.
The announcement was just another body blow for the Mets, who have endured a brutal week in which their most prominent players suffered injuries that could pack consequences for the long term.
The Mets announced that Yoenis Cespedes will not play again this year after straining his right hamstring on Friday. And after being examined by team doctors Monday, Michael Conforto on Tuesday will seek a second opinion on his left shoulder dislocation and torn posterior capsule, injuries that could require surgery followed by a complicated rehab.
On the pitching front, Matt Harvey is expected to start for the Mets on Friday against the Astros. The righthander will throw a bullpen session Tuesday in preparation for a return that comes despite lackluster results in his minor-league rehab assignment.
A stress injury in Harvey’s shoulder led to weakness, likely an after-effect of surgery to correct thoracic outlet syndrome last season. He has not pitched in a big-league game since June.
Noah Syndergaard long-tossed Monday ahead of a 25-pitch bullpen session Wednesday. It’s the latest sign that he should be able to pitch before season’s end. He’s been out since suffering a partial lat tear in April.
But while Harvey and Syndergaard are on track to return this season, major questions will loom over Cespedes, Conforto and Wright.
Cespedes underwent an MRI exam that confirmed the strained right hamstring. His estimated recovery time of six weeks runs past the end of the season, the first of his four-year, $110-million contract.
At the start of the season, Cespedes, 31, was not shy about sharing his hopes for a National League MVP award. He hit .292 with 17 homers and 42 RBIs in 81 games, many of which were played in a compromised state because of leg issues he never seemed to shake.
Six weeks of his season were lost to a strained left hamstring and a subsequent aggravation of the right quadriceps injury that had cropped up the year before. Recently, Cespedes for the first time revealed another complication that kept him on the DL longer than he had anticipated.
As Cespedes neared a recovery, he suffered a pinched nerve, the unintended fallout from a massage. The revelation came during a season in which a wave of injuries has brought scrutiny of the team’s medical and training practices.
Conforto dislocated his left shoulder on a mundane swing-and- miss on Thursday afternoon against the Diamondbacks, an injury so rare that veteran baseball people were at a loss to find comparisons to his situation.