PHILADELPHIA -- To the surprise of even manager Terry Collins, third baseman David Wright is back in the New York Mets lineup Saturday afternoon against the Philadelphia Phillies, five days after Wright fractured his right pinkie.
Wright made his presence known immediately, belting a solo home in the top of the first inning off Phillies starter Vance Worley.
Wright tested the broken finger taking flips in a cage during Friday night's game, then ramped up his activity Saturday and decided to forgo the disabled list.
The Mets had flown in infielder Josh Satin from Triple-A Buffalo in case Wright needed to be placed on the disabled list. Satin will remain with the team inactive for a day just in case Wright does not handle Saturday's game well.
"Obviously how it feels after the game is a pretty good indication how it's going to feel for the short term," Wright said. "I'm sure it's going to be a little sore and a little stiff afterward. It will be good to get in there and just prove to myself that this is something I can play through. I wouldn't go out there and play if it was a coin flip how I felt. I feel pretty good, and I feel close enough to where I can go out there and help the team more than I could hurt it."
Collins, who initially expressed optimism Wright would return to the lineup quickly, by Friday had been convinced the opposite -- that Wright would land on the disabled list. Wright said pregame Friday that the pinkie remained so swollen he could not curl it around a bat.
Wright added that he would try to slide feet first, or at least with a closed fist. He will wear a splint away from the ballpark.
As for throwing, Wright quipped: "Well, I guess it's always been an issue for me, but not anymore so. Throwing should be fine. Mainly the focus was hitting. Like I said, I feel confident enough where I'll give it a go today."
Collins said Wright has a bone chip in the finger, although the third baseman said that is not the case.
"The fracture didn't break off," Wright said. "It's now a matter of it's just got to heal itself. I guess, in an ideal world, if you weren't a baseball player, you'd splint it up for a little while and let it heal that way. But I don't have that luxury of time right now. It's going to heal on its own. It might take a little extra work doing it while playing at the same time. But I'm confident it will heal correctly on its own.
"I'm going to go with a little extra padding, but nothing that's going to prohibit me from feeling the bat the way I normally would."
Said Collins: "As much as I said a few days ago that my gut was that he was going to be able to play on Friday, yesterday talking to him I was doubtful he was going to be OK. But he is OK."
"One of the things I hope everybody reads into this is that this guy is tough," Collins continued. "Very tough. He loves to play. He wants to play. But he's also professional enough to understand that when the medical people say, 'Look, our expertise says this needs rest,' he rests."
Collins said Wright's quick return sends a team-wide message.
"I think it's going to be huge for us," the manager said. "When you see this guy who is going out there -- the face of this team and the face of this organization -- playing with a broken finger, the hamstrings may not be as tight. I'm serious. I don't mean to make a joke about it. If you're a guy on this team and you're saying, 'Well, I've got a star on this team that's playing with a broken finger, I've certainly got a sore shoulder, but I'll throw some aspirin down and let's go.' "