As of Friday, New York Mets third baseman David Wright appeared to be nearing a rehab assignment as he worked his way back from a strained right hamstring suffered in April.
However, as learned on Saturday, the concern has now shifted to his ailing back and a condition that could potentially threaten or at least shorten his career.
According to MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo, Wright has been diagnosed with spinal stenosis, which means he has a narrowing of the spinal column.
The Mets are obviously approaching this with optimism, but one can’t ignore the fact that spinal stenosis played a role in Lenny Dykstra’s retirement from MLB in 1998 and also led to New York Giants running back David Wilson retiring during training camp in 2014.
Different times in history, different sports and perhaps different circumstances related to the injury, but still not a promising precedent for the Mets captain.
Wright missed two months in 2011 with a stress fracture in his lower back. Doctors in New York dismissed a repeat of that injury when he visited them earlier this month. A potential disk issue was ruled out as well.
At this point, Wright’s condition will require rest. Right now, the Mets plan to shut him down from baseball activities for one week in hopes that the rest and the continuation of back-strengthening exercises will get him on the right track.
“He’s still experiencing some lower-back tightness,” assistant GM John Ricco said. “It’s at the point where we’re going to stop the on-field stuff for a week, continue with a program of core strengthening and basically back-stabilization exercises. They hope that will alleviate what he’s feeling.
“When I talked to David, he said that when they initially put him on some medication, he got a lot of relief. But that’s kind of plateaued. It hasn’t been knocked out completely. So the doctor said that to try to give that a chance to happen we want to back off the running and just get him doing these exercises for another week and see where we are at that point.”
The new diagnosis leaves Wright without any type of timetable for his return. It’s essentially a day-to-day and week-to-week situation that the team must delicately manage to avoid another setback. It’s probably too early to say Wright’s season or anything beyond that is in jeopardy, but these next few weeks figure to be critical in determining that status.
Without Wright, the Mets will continue rolling with Eric Campbell at third base. An upgrade could be necessary however if Wright doesn’t show improvement, as Campbell has managed just a .197/.323/.303 battling line over 24 games. If the Mets plan on contending, they will definitely need better production from that position, and right now there’s no sure bet on the roster.
More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:
– – – – – – –