David Wright underwent a back procedure on Thursday, the newest development in the New York Mets captain’s long-running saga of health issues.
At the beginning of the season, the New York Mets hoped to still be playing baseball right about now, but reality had other ideas. A mountain of injuries dealt a particularly brutal blow to the club’s chances, and they fell out of serious playoff contention relatively early.
Among the injured was team captain David Wright, who missed the entire campaign. Health problems are nothing new for the third baseman, but after appearing in a total of only 75 games since the beginning of 2015, the prospects of the 34-year-old returning to the field for any appreciable span of time seem to grow dimmer every day.
In the latest twist of Wright’s meandering quest to return to action, the Mets announced Thursday that the 13-year veteran underwent a back procedure known as a laminotomy, according to Anthony DiComo of MLB.com. He adds that the surgery is intended to alleviate nerve pressure in the spinal canal. Wright was diagnosed with spinal stenosis in 2015.
It’s Wright’s second surgery in as many months. He underwent a shoulder procedure in early September after his minor league rehab assignment was cut short.
Despite the continued setbacks, the seven-time All-Star isn’t giving up hope – or thinking retirement. Per MLB.com:
"“Through this entire rehab process, I have been driven to get back on the field as quickly as I can,” said Wright, who plans to spend most of his offseason rehabbing in Los Angeles. “That’s why I had the shoulder surgery and that’s why today I underwent back surgery to reduce the risk of further issues going forward. With these two surgeries behind me, I hope to be able to put on a Mets uniform again as soon as possible. My desire to play is as strong as ever.”"
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After debuting in 2004, Wright quickly developed into the face of the Mets’ franchise. In parts of 13 seasons he owns a .296/.376/.491 slash line with 242 home runs and 970 RBI. It’s fair to say his career could have been on a Hall of Fame trajectory (or at least put him in the conversation) before the injury woes utterly and completely derailed him.
While Wright’s optimism is admirable, the Mets simply can’t count on his recovery. If he somehow does manage to make it back onto the field, it will be an unexpected but welcome surprise. However, general manager Sandy Alderson is not going to pencil Wright into the tentative starting lineup at any point in the offseason.
As DiComo points out, the Mets are likely to exercise their 2018 option on Asdrubal Cabrera, who will continue to bring infield depth and versatility to the squad. The team may also explore other options via free agency or trade to add further insurance.
In any case, the Mets faithful will keep holding out a little hope that they haven’t seen the last of David Wright. But at the moment that dream seems more distant than ever.