Wright back with Mets after beaning

NEW YORK -- The most frightening moment for David Wright came an instant before he got hit in the head. It was the moment he braced for impact, knowing he had no time to dodge that 94 mph fastball.

"For the most part I remember everything," Wright said. "I think it was more scary than anything. You see the ball coming, you know what's going to happen before it happens."

Wright returned to Citi Field on Monday and said he felt better, two days after he was hit flush on the helmet by a heater from San Francisco pitcher Matt Cain.

The New York Mets' third baseman was diagnosed with a concussion and spent Saturday night in a hospital before being released Sunday. The four-time All-Star was placed on the 15-day disabled list for the first time in his six-year career.

Wright said he was "embarrassed" to be on the DL because he wants to be on the field fighting for wins with his teammates. But he's confident he'll return to the Mets' injury-depleted lineup this season.

"I have plenty of energy. My mind is clear and I feel good, and that's a good sign," he said. "I'm sure I'm going to play again this year."

New York reliever Billy Wagner, coming off major elbow surgery, also rejoined the team Monday and is expected to be activated from the disabled list Friday.

But infielder Alex Cora, who had been filling in for injured Jose Reyes at shortstop, will have separate operations to repair ligaments in both thumbs. He will miss the rest of the season.

After playing through discomfort for much of the year, Cora plans to have surgery on his right thumb immediately. Five weeks later, he'll get his left thumb fixed. He hopes to be healthy by the end of December.

"To be honest with you, I can't be disappointed," Cora said. "Just looking back, I'm very proud of what I tried to accomplish. I tried to help this team to win. And now I've just got to take care of myself, I guess."

Mets manager Jerry Manuel said Sunday it was "a possibility" that Wright could miss the remainder of the season, depending on further tests. Manuel also acknowledged Monday that Wright has been bothered by soreness behind his right knee, which could help explain his home run drop-off this season.

Wright said he expected to be re-examined in the next couple of days. He said the only concussion-related symptoms he feels are headaches, which have improved since Saturday. He needs to be cleared by doctors before he can begin physical activities again.

"The impact obviously hurt. The headaches hurt. I feel clear today," Wright said, adding that his parents and youngest brother were in the stands when he was beaned Saturday.

Wright lobbied team executives not to put him on the DL, but said he knows the Mets have his best interests in mind. He said he told the club he wants to be put on a rehab program that would allow him to come off the DL as soon as he's eligible, Sept. 1 at Colorado.

Wright strolled through the clubhouse Monday in workout shorts, sanitary socks and a T-shirt, just as he normally would before suiting up for batting practice. Even though he can't play, he didn't know what else to wear.

"This is what I do when I come to the park," he said, almost sheepishly.

Still, the fourth-place Mets might want to be cautious with Wright, often referred to as the face of the franchise. With several other stars still injured, New York appears to have little hope of making a playoff run.

The Mets were criticized for rushing Ryan Church back from his second concussion last season. Church has struggled since and was traded to Atlanta this summer for Jeff Francoeur.

Wright said he spoke with Church and was glad to know he wasn't feeling some of the symptoms his former teammate described, such as nausea and sensitivity to light.

One of the things that troubled Church last year, however, was a flight to Colorado and its thin air. Manuel said he didn't know whether Wright will travel with the team on its next road trip.

"Time will tell," Manuel said. "From the way I understand it, these things are as different as the people who are involved with them."

Cain, catcher Bengie Molina and manager Bruce Bochy were among the Giants who contacted Wright over the past couple of days to express their concern. Cain said he found Wright at the ballpark Monday and apologized, though Wright never thought the pitch was intentional -- especially after watching the replay.

"I got a ton of phone calls," Wright said, adding that he doesn't think he'll be "gun shy" the next time he gets in the batters' box.

In other news, Manuel said Wagner is slated to throw a heavy bullpen session Tuesday before taking two days off. If he feels good after that, he would be activated Friday.

"We still have to be careful," Manuel said. "He has worked extremely hard to get back this early."

The 38-year-old lefty, sixth on the career list with 385 saves, has been out all season following elbow ligament replacement surgery Sept. 10. His contract expires after this year.

"I'm a competitor. You want to compete. You really don't want someone to tell you your career is over," Wagner said. "When I first get in a game it's going to be emotional. Who knows where the ball is going to go?"