David Wright was named the National League's Player of the Month for his impressive June performance. But perhaps the most important thing Wright has done for the Mets this season occurred in May - and it was unrelated to his personal statistics.
The date was May 21, and the Mets had just returned to Citi Field after a rocky road trip through Florida, Atlanta and Washington that dropped them to two games below .500 (20-22) and last place in the NL East.
Up next that weekend was the Yankees, and one person recognized that the Mets had reached a turning point in their season.
That player was Wright, who arrived earlier than usual that day. Wright marched into the manager's office and told Jerry Manuel that it was time to summon everyone for a meeting, according to a person familiar with the situation.
Wright told Manuel the team was out of sync, so gathering everyone to clear the air might be a step toward fixing the internal issues. Manuel did, squeezing the entire roster into his office, and the Mets responded by winning 19 of their next 25 games.
It was Manuel who received credit for the meeting and the resulting bounce in the standings. But that group therapy session probably wouldn't have taken place without the intervention of Wright, who is content to be a leader - a captain if you will - as long as he can do it on his own behind-the-scenes terms.
Wright, 27, has been dogged by questions involving his potential captaincy for years. As a homegrown talent and a five-time All-Star, he's the most logical heir to John Franco, who abdicated the "C'' when he left the Mets after the 2004 season. But every time the topic is broached with Wright, he politely backs off, describing himself as merely one of the leaders on the team.
But that is changing. People inside the Mets have acknowledged that there have been more instances of Wright putting his stamp on the team in ways he never had before.
Though the Rays' Evan Longoria was praised for calling out teammate B.J. Upton in the dugout for his lack of hustle, Wright says that's not his style. He said he has confronted teammates "more often than anyone knows," but he stresses that it must be done discreetly.
That's why Wright is not as concerned with the "C'' as with what it stands for - the accountability, and the willingness to take charge. It's hard to believe that Wright already is in his seventh season with the Mets, but it is that experience that makes him feel more responsible.
"I think it's kind of a maturation process," Wright said. "Baseball's not like a lot of other sports where you can come in as a young player and all of a sudden become one of the leaders. It's something that has to be earned, and that takes a little bit of time and you have to prove yourself.''
Even Bay, in only his first year with the Mets, can see what Wright means to the team. Bay drew comparisons between the All-Star third baseman and Jason Varitek - the highly respected captain of the Red Sox - and made some observations one might not expect.
"This one may come back to bite me a little bit, but he's a hard guy to get to know," Bay said, smiling, of Wright. "In meeting everybody, [Jeff] Francoeur could get along with this chair in two minutes. With David, you have to be around him.
"But I don't mean that in a bad way. I'm the same way. But once he's comfortable being around you, I feel like he's opened up a lot."
Wright's first-half numbers - a .316 average, 14 home runs and 64 RBIs - have vaulted him into the MVP discussion, but he's now deserving of consideration because of the non-statistical stuff, too. If the Mets stay in the playoff hunt, Wright will be one of the biggest factors - and for reasons outside the lines.
Reyes waiting before seeing doc
Jose Reyes did not get checked out by the team's medical staff Thursday despite saying that he intended to do so after the Mets' 3-1 loss to the Reds on Wednesday. A Mets spokesman said Reyes would see how he feels Friday and make a decision then.
Reyes missed six games because of an oblique strain on his right side and has not batted from the left side since returning to the lineup on Tuesday. He took two swings from the left side before Wednesday's game but the pain forced him to stop.