PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- A smiling David Wright returned to Port St. Lucie on Thursday, went to his favorite coffee shop and exchanged welcoming hugs with Dave Winfield and executive director of MLB's Players Association Tony Clark, both of whom happened to be there.
The message and mood changed, however, when the Mets third baseman went down the street to New York's spring training complex at First Data Field.
"My No. 1 priority right now is the shoulder, but certainly I want to stay in baseball shape and work out with my teammates and stuff and do whatever I can," Wright said. "It's frustrating, but in the grand scheme of things, it could've been better, could've been worse. I just knew something wasn't right."
When Wright, 34, threw for the first time this spring, it was privately and not in front of the media. He and manager Terry Collins said he would continue to increase his distance, and there was even some mention of playing some at first base when his throwing improved.
However, a sore right shoulder had Wright headed back to New York, where he was diagnosed with a shoulder impingement that his physician said was serious. He sought a second opinion from an independent physician, but the end result is he has been shut down indefinitely from throwing.
"You can't put a time period on how long it's going to take to be able to throw, but when it's ready then I will," Wright said.
Wright has played in two games as a designated hitter for the Mets. He had neck surgery last June 16 to repair a herniated disc, missing the remainder of the season.
"It's just, as far as I'm concerned, a little bump in the road," Wright said of the recovery process. "I'll give everything I have to the rehab, and hopefully be out there helping my teammates as soon as possible."
Collins remained optimistic about his team's captain returning, even if it's a month after opening day.
"I said, Look, if you told me I'd have a healthy David Wright starting May 1 for five months," Collins said, "I'll take it."