NEW YORK -- David Wright and Terry Collins staunchly defended their rationale in attempting to have the third baseman return from a strained right hamstring this season, even though the Mets are mathematically eliminated from postseason contention and only two weeks remain.
The Mets are eyeing a series against the San Francisco Giants that begins Tuesday for Wright's return. Wright, Collins, front-office officials and team medical staff are expected to confer entering that series to determine whether to proceed with Wright appearing for the first time since departing an Aug. 2 game with the injury.
New York Mets
"It's something that I'm against, personally," Wright said Saturday regarding shutting things down for the season. "If the organization feels that it's best for the organization moving forward, then that's a talk we're going to have to have, that obviously we haven't had. But my understanding is that if the doctors and I feel like I'm healthy enough to play, that I'm allowed to play. It's not right for a player, I think, to just shut it down when I feel like I'm healthy enough to go out there and produce."
Said Collins: "So the issue is: Is he going to get hurt again? So what do we do next spring? Do we not play him all spring for fear of going into the season and he might get hurt in a spring-training game, that he might have an intercostal strain like he did this spring? Or maybe re-injure the hamstring, a la Jose Reyes at times? This is a sport. This is a sport where people get hurt. You can't police it. You've got to do the best you can to get him in shape and then let him go play. And you know what? We can't put that plastic wrap around him if we expect them to play the way they're capable of playing. This guy is a winner. He's going to play like a winner. Therefore he's going to go out when the time comes, and if he needs to steal second or he needs to beat out an infield chopper, he's going to do it, because that's who he is.
"Now, do you want him to do it now? Yes. I want him to go play now. And if something happens -- you know what? -- it's part of the game.
"Should we shut down Zack Wheeler right now? Should we possibly run him out there one more time? I don't know. How about the catcher [Travis d'Arnaud], who has been hit in the head seven times in the last four games he's caught? Should we get him out of there in case he gets hit?
"I mean, we've got to play somebody."
Wright arrived at Citi Field at 9:30 a.m. Saturday and worked out for two hours on the field. He said his left leg feels stronger than his right leg.
He reiterated that it is important for him to return this season because he needs to play when capable, it is important for the team to finish strongly, and it is important to put on the best show for the paying fans. Collins echoed that it is important for the Mets to head into 2014 on a positive note, and Wright playing helps accomplish that.
Wright said playing against the Giants on Tuesday may be "optimistic, but I like to be optimistic."
He said he needs to repeat cutting and stopping at intense levels on Sunday and Monday, which he only really did for the first time Saturday. He wants to be capable of playing regularly once he returns.
"I think that there's still some more that I need to accomplish before I play in a game," Wright said. "And that's difficult for me to say, because I'd like to play."
With minor league teams done, Wright planned to stand in and watch as Wheeler throws a bullpen session. Wright had coach Ricky Bones pitch to him. Wright estimated Bones threw about 85 mph, when you adjust the velocity to account for Bones pitching from closer to the plate than 60 feet, six inches. Wright said it would not be fair to have a regular pitcher throw to him, since they are needed for the games.
"He used to be a real pitcher, believe it or not," Wright quipped about Bones.
Collins said Wright's hamstring issue is behind him.
"It's not there right now. It's gone," the manager said. "So we'll take care of him. And if something happens in the last week, it's part of the game. Hey, look, we're trying to win baseball games here. And our fans deserve that. And part of that thing is if David says, 'I'm ready to play,' nobody knows how he feels but David. All of the testing and all of the other stuff we do is just an indication that he's back being healthy right now.
"Now, is he game-ready? No. He's not game-ready, because he hasn't played in any games. But we're doing the best we can under the circumstances to try to get him game-ready."