The New York Mets finally got some positive news Saturday. Their captain, David Wright, is ready to take a massive step in his comeback attempt.
The team has announced that Wright, the franchise’s longtime third baseman and all-time hits leader, will finally begin a rehab assignment Sunday by playing five innings for Class A St. Lucie.
— New York Mets (@Mets) August 11, 2018
Comebacks and setbacks
Wright, 35, hasn’t played in a major-league game since May 27, 2016, while dealing with a series of injuries.
His injury problems first popped up in 2011, when he injured his hamstring on a diving tag attempt. Back and shoulder issues followed, sending him to the disabled list multiple times leading up to the 2015 season.
During that 2015 season, Wright’s career was put in serious jeopardy when he was diagnosed with lumbar spinal stenosis. The condition causes intense muscle and nerve pain in the lower back and legs due to a narrowing of the spinal column. He ended up missing four months during the season, but did return in time to play in his second postseason and first World Series.
In early-2016, Wright revealed he had a herniated disc in his neck. He was eventually put on the disabled list after he hit just .226 in 37 games. He elected season-ending surgery shortly after.
Since then, Wright has had several starts and stops in his comeback bid. He made it as far back as a rehab assignment last August, but that was ultimately cut short by a recurrence of pain in his shoulder. He was shut down again for eight weeks in March due to persistent shoulder and lower back pain.
At every turn, Wright has continued fighting. The last we heard, he’d altered his throwing motion and was nearing a return to baseball activities. That was in late May. Saturday’s news really came out of nowhere because there hadn’t been a concrete update since.
The Mets didn’t elaborate on the plan for Wright beyond Sunday’s game. At this point, it’s definitely best taking it one step at a time.
Is a major league comeback realistic for David Wright?
While we wouldn’t count Wright out, he’s facing an extreme uphill battle to make it back. Baseball is a physically demanding game that grinds players down over the course of a season. It’s difficult for even the youngest and healthiest players to manage. Wright’s extended absence coupled with his physical ailments put him further behind the curve.
We certainly won’t see Wright in a Mets uniform this season. If his body holds up during his rehab assignment, then this quickly becomes an interesting story to monitor heading into 2019 should he decide to continue playing.
If nothing else, David Wright has certainly earned a ton of respect for his determination to finish his career under his own terms. A lot of people are rooting for him.
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