The injuries have piled up for Mets captain David Wright over the past few seasons, but he may be returning to baseball activities relatively soon. Wright visited with Dr. Robert Watkins in Los Angeles on Tuesday, and his neck was determined to be healing properly after surgery to repair a herniated disk in it, Jon Heyman of Today’s Knuckleball reported. If all goes well, Wright may be back on the field by spring training next year.
Wright, 33, has played in just 75 games for the Mets over the past two seasons after avoiding the disabled list for the first seven seasons of his career. In May 2015, he was diagnosed with spinal stenosis, a narrowing of his spinal column, that forced him to seriously alter his pregame workouts. He had needed to prepare for at least three hours just to get ready for batting practice. After undergoing the herniated disk surgery in June, Wright’s neck was so immobile that he could not sit in the dugout to watch games, as he would not be able to move quick enough if a hard foul ball came flying toward him.
In 2016, Wright hit .226/.350/.438 with seven home runs, eight doubles, and 18 runs in 38 games. Additionally, he combined to either strike out or walk in about 50% of his plate appearances. Wright is under contract through the 2020 season and is owed an average of $16,750,000 over the next four years.
Wright’s neck injury was similar to one suffered by Braves outfielder Nick Markakis, who underwent fusion surgery in December 2014. The 32-year-old Markakis recovered quickly, managed to be ready for 2015 Opening Day and has stayed completely healthy since, though he wasn’t dealing with Wright’s other back issues. In 299 games with Atlanta over the past two seasons, Markakis has hit .284/.358/.386 with 14 home runs and 75 doubles. He suffered a noticeable drop in power during his first season back, hitting a career-low three home runs in 2015, but has seemed to rebound in that regard this season.