Wright avoids DL, homers in first at-bat
For now, third baseman to play through fractured right pinkie
PHILADELPHIA -- Throughout team stretching drills Saturday afternoon, David Wright rolled a fluorescent chunk of putty from one hand to the other. The exercise, one of several that Wright has tried over the past few days, aimed to reduce the stiffness in his fractured right pinkie.
Such flexibility was critical for Wright, considering he was in the lineup in the No. 3 spot on Saturday for the first time since fracturing his finger last Monday. And in his first at-bat, he showed no ill effects from the injury, blasting a solo home run to center field on the first pitch he saw from Vance Worley in the Mets' 5-0 win.
A day after expressing doubt that he would be able to play at all this weekend, even prompting the Mets to fly in a replacement from Triple-A Buffalo, Wright took batting practice at Citizens Bank Park and felt well enough to start at third base. He then felt well enough to go 3-for-5, raising his team-leading average to .588.
"I wouldn't go out there and play if it was a coin flip how I felt," Wright said. "Obviously I feel pretty good, and I feel close enough that I can help the team more than hurt them."
Those words were a complete departure from what Wright said on Friday, when he noted that it "would be very difficult to play baseball" given the state of his injury. But another night of rest and two rounds of batting practice convinced Wright otherwise, allowing manager Terry Collins to pencil him back into the third spot in the lineup.
"I was doubtful he was going to be OK," Collins said. "But he is OK."
Wright is certainly not 100 percent -- doctors told him the injury will take six full weeks to heal -- but this was never about his ability to play through pain. Wright simply had to be able to do the functional things -- gripping a bat, swinging, throwing -- necessary to play in a game.
Once he proved all that on Saturday morning, it was enough for the Mets to proceed with their regular lineup against the Phillies. He will play for the time being with some light padding wrapped around his finger.
"There's going to be some pain, I don't think there's any question," Wright said. "But I don't think it's something that's going to alter how I swing."