David Wright returned to the diamond last August, but the Mets must continue to monitor him carefully after he was diagnosed with spinal stenosis last year. The team won't push the third baseman hard this spring. Instead, he is likely to receive sporadic playing time early in Grapefruit League action while skipping road games to spare his back from bus rides.
Wright has not played a full season since 2012, and that won't change this year. General manager Sandy Alderson set a 130-game maximum for Wright this season. When Terry Collins met with his team captain on Wednesday, he reportedly told Wright to anticipate days off even when healthy. Asdrubal Cabrera will likely slide over to the hot corner with Wilmer Flores or Ruben Tejada filling in at shortstop.
Although no longer the MVP candidate he was in his best years, Wright still produced well in limited action last season. He hit .289/.379/.434 in 38 games before a rocky postseason, during which he played regularly (against top-notch pitching) after working a less strenuous September schedule. Despite his power decline, his on-base acumen assured his spot in the No. 2 hole, which he could again occupy in 2016.
The 33-year-old doesn't need seasoning as much as the younger players competing for jobs and playing time. By taking it easy on Wright and giving him ample rest, the Mets can hopefully avoid another prolonged absence.