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Marc Malusis: Mets' David Wright will not go down without a fight

David Wright is suffering from a shoulder impingement.

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You feel bad for David Wright. The Mets are ready to win in 2017 and are a World Series contender and David Wright’s body is now failing him.For Wright, it does not seem a matter of if another injury is around the corner, but when that injury will occur.

Listen, it is not like the Mets banked on a healthy David Wright in 2017. As GM Sandy Alderson said early on in camp, the Mets are ‘all in’ this season to win a World Series for the first time since 1986. As it stands right now, it is ironic that Jose Reyes will be the everyday third baseman, replacing Wright. Reyes and Wright, not too long ago, were viewed as the foundation for the Mets franchise for years to come. It did not exactly work out as initially planned, but the two are teammates once again. With the depth and flexibility the Mets currently have in their infield, the Mets view of David Wright was a healthy one. Whatever David Wright gives us in 2017 will be viewed as a bonus.

Now, let’s not paint the picture that the Mets are turning their back on their Captain. That is not the case. David Wright has been the face of the franchise on the diamond and off of it. He will continue to have a presence in the organization as he goes through his latest rehabilitation. He is still owed $67 million dollars and he has no interest in walking away from that, nor this team.

It was announced this past Tuesday that Wright is suffering from a shoulder impingement. He will not throw a baseball for two weeks as he continues to work his way back from a back injury and neck surgery. There is no timetable for his return and Opening Day looks like a pipe dream. On Thursday in Port St. Lucie Wright discussed his injury, ''I'll give everything I have to the rehab, and hopefully be out there helping my teammates as soon as possible.'

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In a perfect world, the Mets want Wright to be a part of this team. With the Mets looking to make the playoffs for a 3rd straight season and championship aspirations, there is no question that David Wright wants to be a part of it too. The Mets fan wants number 5 to be a part of it too. I can’t think of a current active New York player as beloved as Wright is by Mets fans. They love him. He came up through the farm system and is their ‘guy.’ You look at the Mets record book and David Wright’s name peppers the statistical categories. He has accomplished a lot as a player, but has never won a championship in New York. During his 13-year major league career with the Mets, he has probably felt the full range of emotional expression at one point or another.

Wright described his latest setback as a “a little bump in the road.” I am not sure if this is a bump or mountain? I am hoping that Wright is correct and it is a bump and he can get back to the major leagues sooner rather than later. I don’t think anyone can really say for sure what the baseball future holds for David Wright. One thing is for sure, now we know why Wright was throwing in private and not in the public spotlight. He was not healthy.

As the Mets play ball with Wright, he must play ball with the Mets too. Now, he has to come to the understanding about his place on this team. The Mets are not counting on David Wright being a main cog this season. If he can get healthy enough, he needs to understand that he is not being handed anything moving forward.

During the lean years for the Mets, the individual story line dominated those seasons. Some examples were RA Dickey and his Cy Young Award in 2012 as he went 20-6. You can also go back to 2011, as Jose Reyes won the NL Batting title hitting .337. Certainly, the return of David Wright would be a wonderful story for the baseball fan in New York City. But, that is not the focus for the Mets now. It is about the TEAM. Alderson has built and helped develop a team that has championship expectations. They are defined by their starting pitching and a right-handed power bat Yoenis Cespedes. Wright is no longer counted on, but that does not mean you should count him out.

Mets manager Terry Collins talked about Wright being a grinder. He is going to try and work his way back. Don’t count on Wright retiring anytime soon. He talked last week about still enjoying what he does and certainly paints the picture of optimism even with the storm clouds on the horizon. “I love taking the field. And if I can do this rehab, and put in the time to get back on the field, and do what I love doing, then it’s well worth it in my mind.” David Wright is not walking away from baseball anytime soon. Maybe the medical field will tell him he can no longer do it. Maybe his body will never fully recover from neck surgery and he leaves the game. Anything is possible, including Wright contributing to a playoff team in 2017.

There are many things that would lead to a connection between David Wright and his fans. I think near the top of that list, is the never say quit attitude and the willingness to work. Wright will not walk away from this game with any sense of regret. Don’t write him off just yet, it might not look good, but his latest injury does not leave you hopeless either. The one thing you do know is that David Wright is not going down without a fight, that is what has defined him as a player from the first moment he put on the Mets uniform and it will to his last moment.

 

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