03/14/12 9:26 AM ET
Wright hopes to be ready by Opening Day
Third baseman back in camp after straining abdominal muscle
By Anthony DiComo / MLB.com
"It was interesting," Wright said, before choosing a better descriptor. "It was not fun."
An ice wrap wreathed his midsection as he spoke, the most conspicuous reminder that Wright is still injured. Otherwise, Wright returned to Mets camp Wednesday expressing optimism about his chances to return for Opening Day, but preaching patience regarding his status in the interim.
"As long as I get a decent amount of time, I feel like I'll be ready," Wright said, "I'm not at the point now where I feel panicked or rushed. I still feel comfortable with the amount of time I've got left.
"Whenever you strain a muscle, essentially there's some tearing. So it sounds a lot worse than it is."
After giving his cortisone injection a full 48 hours to work, Wright plans to reevaluate his situation and proceed to baseball activities as soon as possible. That will begin in a controlled environment, with Wright hitting initially off a tee and in soft toss drills, then participating in full batting practice and, eventually, games.
But Wright will not rush the process, knowing he can take a dozen swings or more per day in Minor League games if necessary. More important for the third baseman is making sure that his abdominal strain is fully healed before attempting to put undue stress on the muscle.
"As much as I'd like to be out there and play, I also have to realize that it's the first couple weeks in Spring Training," Wright said. "For once in my career, you've got to be smart about something and maybe miss a few games here to make sure I'm ready for the season."
Still, the reclassification of Wright's injury is troubling. When Wright first began skipping workouts a week and a half ago, the Mets diagnosed him with tightness in the left side of his rib cage. But Wright revealed Wednesday that he actually has a strained left rectus abdominis, the same type of muscle tear that recently forced Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman and Orioles outfielder Nick Markakis to undergo surgery.
Wright dismissed any comparison of his injury to those, noting that muscle strains come with different degrees of severity. Zimmerman missed 60 games after first attempting to rehabilitate his abdominal tear. Markakis underwent his surgery over the winter and is still recovering.
Despite those comparable cases, Wright insisted that Opening Day will not be an issue for him.
"You're talking three weeks from today," said Wright, who hit .254 with 14 home runs last season, missing more than two months with a stress fracture in his lower back. "There's only so many fundamentals in the game and we've got plenty of days left to [practice] them."
A day earlier, Mets manager Terry Collins delivered a brief clubhouse rant after learning of shortstop Ruben Tejada's strained left groin, expressing frustration at the plethora of injuries in camp. Tejada's injury was the 15th the team has suffered over the first half of Spring Training, with seven of those 15 affecting core muscle groups.
Hours later, Collins explained that he was simply exasperated over the mounting number of injuries in camp, with no real explanation for them.
"Everybody's frustrated," Wright said. "I'm frustrated. The guys who have had to miss some time are frustrated. Obviously, Terry's frustrated because he wants his guys out there. He wants to be able to go work on these things. He understands the importance of -- especially with this young team that we have -- that we've got to go out there and do those fundamentals right. And obviously you can't do that when we've got some guys banged up."