07/21/2004 12:46 AM ET
It's the right time for Wright
By Kevin T. Czerwinski / MLB.com
|David Wright is hitting .298 in 31 games for Norfolk, with eight homers and 17 RBIs. (Rick Silva/AP)
NEW YORK -- The David Wright era will officially begin on Wednesday night at Shea Stadium.
The Mets announced after Tuesday's 9-7 loss to Florida that they would be calling up their top prospect, who will take over the role as starting third baseman. Wright's arrival coincides with Mike Piazza spraining his wrist in Tuesday's game. It's not known whether Piazza will go on the disabled list, so the club will wait until Wednesday to announce a roster move.
Making room on the roster, however, was not Wright's concern on Tuesday night. The arrival of the 21-year-old Virginia native has been predicted since Spring Training, and he has more than lived up to the advance billing this season, starting the season at Double-A Binghamton before earning a quick promotion to Triple-A Norfolk.
"To be honest, I haven't been able to speak too well since I got the news," he told MLB.com. "I got the news earlier, and it's unbelievable. It's what I've dreamed about since I was a kid. I'll remember this day the rest of my life. I've been trying to get myself together all night.
"It's really special to get called into that office and hear the news. I'm speechless. I got the word, and I called my parents. They were jumping around. Now I have to get packed and get ready for tomorrow."
Wright, one of the team's first-round picks in the 2001 draft, is hitting .298 in 31 games for Norfolk, with eight homers and 17 RBIs. He went 1-for-5 with an RBI in an 8-6 victory over Durham on Tuesday. He hit .363 with 10 homers and 40 RBIs in 60 games for Binghamton.
"This definitely wasn't expected," he said. "To say it was inevitable is not true. This is something you definitely don't expect. You just try to go out and play hard."
Wright's name is brought up every time general manager Jim Duquette enters into trade talks with another club. And every time his name has been mentioned, Duquette has rebuffed the suitors, whether it was Kansas City peddling Carlos Beltran or Pittsburgh offering Kris Benson.
The Mets lost for the seventh time in 10 games on Tuesday night and have been treading water in the very tight NL East race for the last two weeks. Duquette sees this move as possibly injecting some juice into the clubhouse.
"Our feeling is that he's ready for the jump," he said. "We're ready to bring him up. We definitely think he'll provide us with some energy and life. We think his bat is capable of handling this level. We think the timing is right for him and the organization to bring him up.
"We've been talking about it throughout the course of the day. Regardless of whether Mike was going on the DL, we were leaning this way. Even without [Piazza's] injury, we were bringing him up."
Duquette indicated that a roster move might come through a trade, saying that he was working on some things that could reach fruition before Friday.
Wright's presence has an immediate impact on Ty Wigginton, who Duquette said would start at first base on Wednesday against Montreal. Wigginton is hitting .281 and has 41 RBIs after driving in two more on Tuesday, and manager Art Howe wants to keep his bat in the lineup. Piazza's injury provides the means, at least for now.
"He'll get time at first and second because we want to keep his bat in the lineup as much as possible," said Duquette. "David's not going to play every day for two straight weeks, either, so Ty will still see some time at third. That's the beauty Wiggy brings."
Kevin T. Czerwinski is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.