PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — As an expedient way to pad his at-bat total, David Wright walked the concrete path that separates Field 4 and Field 7, abandoning one minor league game to hit in another.
Then he walked it again, returning to Game 1.
Then he walked it again, returning to Game 2.
“I like that game of baseball better than this slow-paced nine innings that you have to play,” Wright said Tuesday afternoon. “I’d rather just jump field to field and just take an at-bat when I want to. That was fun.”
It was fun because he finally was able to remove his swing from its holster, testing it out as a designated hitter in a pair of minor league games. Wright went 1-for-5 and scored a run, but the results were of far less importance than the way his body reacted.
The reaction was positive. Wright said he had no pain, no discomfort. And on a team whose roster is being governed less often by statistics and more often by medical charts, Wright’s progress was a positive sign. He still has his eyes locked on opening day.
“I’ve been optimistic about opening day since I came back to St. Lucie and talked with the doctors and trainers about the diagnosis,” Wright said.
Out of game action since he injured his rib cage muscle at the World Baseball Classic, Wright is part of an ever-expanding collection of Mets who have gone down during the past seven weeks. The list includes, but is not limited to, Wright, Daniel Murphy, Frank Francisco, Johan Santana, Shaun Marcum and Jenrry Mejia.
Manager Terry Collins said that before spring training, the club put together a list of players who absolutely, positively could not get hurt if this team wants to succeed.
“Four of them are hurt,” Collins said.
But Murphy and Wright are on the mend. Murphy went 1-for-5 with a walk in a minor league game. He spent five innings at second base.
Wright was 0-for-his-first-4 before connecting on a single during his final at-bat. He moved to second on a bunt by Jon Niese and scored on a single by one of the franchise’s minor-leaguers.
“I felt like I took good swings,” Wright said. “The first couple at-bats, I just wanted to see pitches. Then as I got to the third, fourth, fifth at-bat, I was up there trying to not just see pitches, but see some results.”
He’s still not playing defense, but that could happen later this week. Playing defense in a game does not weigh on his mind. He actually prefers gathering his footwork during drills with third-base coach Tim Teufel.
“I get more probably out of that than I actually do at the game,” Wright said, “Ÿ’cause you could spend seven innings (in) a game and not get a ground ball.”
Wright will not play in a game Wednesday (The team does not have a minor league game scheduled in Port St. Lucie), but expects to be back in a lineup Thursday.
And with the clock ticking toward Monday afternoon’s opener against the San Diego Padres …
“I would not be surprised if David Wright is there opening day,” Collins said.