David Wright Shut Down With Strain, Opening Day Status For New York Mets In Doubt

By Thom Tsang
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

If you want a reason why MLB teams might not want their stars to participate in a pre-season tournament like the World Baseball Classic, all you’d have to do is take a look over at the New York Mets.

Sure, it’s great that professional athletes want to represent their respective countries in some competitive baseball, but with that comes a fair amount of risk, and the Mets are feeling the full weight of that on David Wright, the team’s star third baseman and $138 million man:

The intercostal strain will keep Wright from baseball activities for 3-5 days before his health is reevaluated, and makes him a definite no-go for Team USA for the duration of the WBC, as he was withdrawn from the tournament.

For the Mets, of course, the main concern now will be whether or not their third baseman and team leader will be able to take the field on Opening Day — and they might not necessarily like the answer.

Given that Wright had been suffering symptoms for days before he’d revealed it to the team, and the past precedent in this types of injuries (which fellow team Daniel Murphy is also recovering from and received a cortizone shot for), it’s quite possible that Wright could miss up to several weeks of action, which would put him on the DL to start the season.

According to ESPN’s Adam Rubin, the team hasn’t ruled out the possibility of Wright being available on Opening Day, but will also begin preparing in the worst-case scenario.

That means finding more options, which leaves the Mets on an even more dire note.

The short version is that there isn’t anyone in-house that’s going to be an adequate replacement at third base here; the long version is that manager Terry Collins will likely be forced to go with utility infielder Justin Turner, who started five games at third in 2012, and was a 0.5 fWAR player over 94 appearances.

There’s no way of sugar-coating this one: Wright and the Mets knew the perils of what could happen at the WBC, and while it’s not likely that the team will be without their star for any more than the first couple of weeks in April, the team will have a hard time fielding anything resembling a MLB-caliber lineup for any amount of time that Wright is not available.

It’s not the worst-case scenario for New York, but it’s not far from it, either.

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