PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — David Wright, the 34-year-old Mets third baseman struggling to salvage his career after various back and neck injuries, is now facing a related shoulder ailment.
Wright was found to have an impingement of his right shoulder, General Manager Sandy Alderson said on Tuesday, and was sent back to New York for further examination.
Alderson said that Wright had been experiencing soreness all spring, but that the injury did not require surgery. He said Wright would stop throwing a baseball for about two weeks and then gradually resume a gentle throwing program until he built up strength.
That makes it unlikely that Wright will be on the Mets’ opening-day roster, but there are more long-term implications for his hope of returning as an everyday player and playing through the rest of his contract, which runs through 2020.
“I don’t think we are at that point, the point where that concern is at a heightened level,” Alderson said about the possibility that Wright’s career could be in jeopardy. “This is all part of the process of rehabilitating from the neck surgery. It’s taking longer than I’m sure David would have hoped and we would have hoped. But it’s part of the process.”
Wright is owed $20 million this year and another $47 million over the next three years.
After having neck surgery on June 16, Wright did not throw for several months, and Alderson said the Mets doctors believe the inactivity, followed by the resumption of throwing this spring, contributed to the irritation in the shoulder.
But Alderson also said that there was instability in the joint after the surgery, and that had led to the impingement.
“The doctors feel it is in some way related to the neck surgery, in the fact that muscles haven’t essentially re-engaged, restimulated,” Alderson said.
Wright’s games of catch this spring have been done mostly in secret. Even before the injury was known, there has been concern that Wright might no longer be able to make the long throws required of a third baseman. A move to first base has been suggested, and Wright said recently that he was willing to do whatever the team asked of him.
Asked on Tuesday if Wright’s playing third base now seemed less likely, Alderson said: “We need to wait and see whether this shoulder injury continues and the exercises and no-throwing and so forth. Our goal is to get him back to third base.”
Wright played in only 38 games in 2015, when he learned in May that he had spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the spinal column. He returned on Aug. 24 and finished the season. But last year he was shut down after May 27 and found to have a herniated disk in his neck that required fusion surgery. He played in only 37 games.
Alderson said Jose Reyes would probably see more time at third base during spring training.
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