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Lamar Johnson: David Wright's shoulder is to blame for his struggles

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Though David Wright makes no excuses about his struggles, many believe the bruised rotator cuff he suffered in June is still an issue, including hitting coach Lamar Johnson.

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Rich Schultz

David Wright's numbers this year are not pretty. With a .266/.324/.368 batting line, eight home runs, and 56 RBI through 123 games, they are easily the worst of his distinguished career. Though he likely is still suffering from a bruised left rotator cuff suffered back in June, Wright continues to deny the shoulder is having any impact on his offensive struggles, recently telling reporters:

"The shoulder's not an excuse. Again, I expect to produce. I'm not thinking about my shoulder. I'm not thinking about bad habits. I'm thinking about going up there and trying to excel and do what I'm capable of doing, doing what I've proven I can do. When I don't do that, I'm as frustrated as anybody."

Fans and reporters have come to expect comments like this from Wright. But Mets hitting coach Lamar Johnson sees things differently. Johnson told MetsBlog's Robert Brender that he believes Wright's shoulder is a key reason for his struggles in 2014.

"We're trying to work on a consistent swing. When your shoulder is hurt, it’s really tough. It’s hurt in his left shoulder and that’s where your swing starts, with your left side, your left hand getting to the ball. It's been tough because he’s been trying to play through that. It’s just been a real tough haul because it’s hard to get a consistent swing when you’re in pain a little bit."

Manager Terry Collins, having to toe the line between defending his captain and making excuses for him, has a different take, deferring to Wright's claims that the shoulder is not the cause for his woes.

"In my time here, I've never seen him scuffle like he has this year. He's not hurt, he's healthy. I don't have an answer for why he's going through what he's going through."

Wright entered 2014 with a career batting line of .301/.382/.506, but his troubles this season have dragged those numbers down to .298/.377/.494. He originally suffered the bruise in June and received a cortisone shot over the All-Star break to alleviate the pain. Enduring the deepest slump of his career, the 31-year-old is batting a woeful .215/.269/.230 with no home runs, two extra-base hits, and just eight runs batted in through 35 second-half games.

Wright also left Sunday's game with the Los Angeles Dodgers due to muscle spasms in his neck, but it's not expected to keep him out of action.