PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — The big question surrounding David Wright is the one that even he can’t answer.
Can he play this season?
“I’m going to give it my best shot, certainly,” the New York Mets captain and third baseman said Saturday from the dugout of the team’s training complex. “I probably have a lot of the same questions you’re asking me and a lot of people are asking of me. I just don’t know. It’s certainly been an uphill climb for me.
“To honestly answer your question, I just don’t know. I’d love to play, but my body’s got to hold up and have to cooperate with me a little bit.”
The 35-year-old Wright calls his health the “biggest hurdle.” The medical update to the media suggests no immediate expectation of him being penciled into new manager Mickey Callaway’s lineup anytime soon.
“I’m still in the rehab process,” he said. “But I feel like as far as getting further and further along, we’re at the point now where we can begin to try to ramp it up a little bit more.”
The seven-time All-Star has been in constant communication with the doctors who performed his back and shoulder surgeries.
“We want to make sure that when we progress to these steps that’s it’s not going to do anything that will kind of set us back. So for now we’re in the rehab process,” he said. “I guess baby steps are still steps in the right direction.”
Wright’s shoulder pain from three Florida State League games last August led him to shut himself down. He had shoulder surgery Sept. 5 to fix his right rotator cuff. The next month he had a laminotomy to remove a bony layer over his spinal canal to treat nerve compression.
He is close to his playing weight but his offseason workouts haven’t allowed him to put on any muscle. He hasn’t been running, choosing instead to focus on the areas on which he’s had surgery. He alternates his daily workouts — shoulder work one day, back exercises the next.
And he likes the opportunity of playing with Frazier.
“We’re certainly a very good team without me,” he said. “My mindset is we’ll be a better team with both of us out there.”
He also understands the team’s decision to bring in Frazier from the Yankees.
“They’ve got to do what’s best for them,” Wright said. “I understand that — when you don’t play for as long as I haven’t, and we’ve had a bit of a void there. This team is in a position to compete. They need to do what’s best for them.
“I don’t blame them one bit. This organization has always treated me with the utmost respect. This is a family environment.”
So Wright will take time to get in shape before the baseball work intensifies.
“These things need time and they need rehab. You don’t know until you try it out. I hate to simplify it, but if my body cooperates, then I can’t wait to get back out there,” he said. “And if it doesn’t, we’ll try to figure something else out.”