Collins’ pronouncement came on the day Wright joined his teammates at Citi Field after months of rehabbing in Los Angeles.
Wright downplayed a target date for games. He likely will proceed to the team’s complex in Port St. Lucie, Florida, when the Mets head on the road after their weekend showdown against the Washington Nationals.
“Tomorrow will be my first day going back to back as far as baseball stuff at this intensity,” Wright said. “I’ll be ready when I’m ready. I’m not setting a date for rehab games until I get further along into the baseball stuff -- to understand that my body can take back-to-back [days], and then three days in a row, and four days in a row, and so on. As far as trying to set a date for when I’m going to be ready for rehab games, it doesn’t make any sense to do it right now.”
Wright took groundballs hit at him, hit in a cage and tossed a baseball on Tuesday in Queens as he works back from spinal stenosis in his lower back. He noted that he actually had been ramping up baseball activity in L.A. for the past three weeks under the care of physical therapists affiliated with specialist Robert Watkins.
Wright, 32, said he would go to a Little League field this month while in California and take grounders. He also would go to a local batting cage and hit alongside children.
Asked if he was recognized, Wright joked: “I haven’t been gone that long.”
It has been a while, though. Wright has not appeared in a major league game since April 14. He initially landed on the disabled list with a hamstring strain, but the back issue quickly superseded the leg injury.
Wright experienced nerve irritation because of a narrow spinal cavity. The issue is the result of genetics, a 2011 stress fracture in his lower back that caused calcium deposits to develop, and damage from years of twisting and torque associated with baseball.
“I’ve gotten to the point where I’ve done everything I can do, rehab-wise,” Wright said. “Now it’s a matter of going out there and testing it on a baseball field. I think moving forward it’s just about managing what I have and being realistic as far as some of the days are going to be good days, some of the days are going to be OK. I think that’s where the therapists and the trainers come in. There are going to be some days where things aren’t so good. I think you just try to limit the days where you wake up and things aren’t very good.”
Wright insisted he feels good.
“I think the amount of time it takes now to prepare and get ready is a little longer than I’ve had in the past,” Wright said. “That’s just part of the deal where it takes a little time to get ready.”