PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- New York Mets third baseman David Wright played in a game Tuesday for the first time since the five-RBI performance against Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic on March 12 that cemented his "Captain America" nickname.
Wright, shuttling between Double-A and Triple-A games against St. Louis Cardinals farmhands, went 1-for-5 with a single as a designated hitter as he took a significant step toward being ready for Opening Day.
Wright had received a cortisone injection in his left side on March 15 to treat a strained intercostal muscle that had forced him to withdraw from the WBC. He expects to again play in a minor league game Thursday.
"It felt OK," Wright said. "I haven't played since a couple of weeks ago. I felt like the timing was OK, better towards the fifth at-bat. But it was good to get that number of ABs that quickly. It felt as comfortable as, I guess, I could taking the two weeks off. ... I finally got on base the fifth at-bat, so I was able to stretch the legs out a little bit. So it felt good."
Wright likely will avoid Grapefruit League games this week so the Mets could backdate any potential disabled-list stint into spring training if necessary. But Wright remains optimistic he will be ready for the April 1 opener against the San Diego Padres and avoid the DL entirely.
Wright said it is less essential for him to play in the field this week than to get at-bats.
"I've been optimistic about Opening Day since I came back to St. Lucie and I talked with the doctors and the trainers about the diagnosis," Wright said. "As I said yesterday, it's kind of the same thing today: It's another step closer. I'm still very optimistic."