David Wright set to return from DL

DENVER -- For the first time since April 14, New York Mets captain David Wright will play in a major league game on Monday.

Mets manager Terry Collins confirmed Sunday that Wright will be activated from the disabled list and be placed in the starting lineup for the series opener against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.

Wright, 32, originally landed on the disabled list a week into the season with a right hamstring strain, but a major lower-back issue sidelined him for the bulk of his four-plus-month absence.

Wright was diagnosed with spinal stenosis -- a narrowing of the spinal cavity in his lower back. The issue compressed nerves and, at one point, made it difficult for Wright to stand upright. It prompted two months of physical therapy under the guidance of Dr. Robert Watkins in Los Angeles.

Wright hit .321 (9-for-28) with one RBI, five walks and six strikeouts in eight games during a rehab assignment with Class A St. Lucie. All of the hits were singles.

Collins downplayed early expectations, stressing that there is a big difference between having success facing Florida State League pitching and jumping into the majors.

The manager noted that the speed of the game will tremendously increase for Wright on the defensive side as well. That is not only the case because baseballs are hit harder at the major league level. It also is because the grass is much more closely cut in major league ballparks, according to Collins.

"The reports are great," Collins said. "He looks good. He's feeling good. He's swung the bat good. It's the Florida State League, so I'm not putting any expectations on him."

Collins reiterated that Wright will not be an everyday player until he demonstrates the back issue is behind him. The frequency of Wright's playing time will be based on feedback from Wright as he plays.

Juan Uribe, acquired from the Atlanta Braves on July 24, should handle third base on the days Wright is not in the starting lineup.

"He'll have something to say about that," Collins said about Wright. "To play here, it just takes more energy. So we'll see how he is after tomorrow's game.

"Is he going to play three [games] in a row? Maybe. He probably won't play four in a row. He'll decide that. He and I will talk every day to try to determine what day he needs off."

John Zajac, the team's Florida-based physical therapist, will work with Wright at the major league level. Zajac spent a week in Los Angeles during Wright's physical therapy with Watkins' staff to study their techniques.

Collins has said that he can foresee Wright batting second, although no lineup spot for Monday has yet been determined.

"I can honestly tell you I'm excited to have him back, because his presence on our team is big," Collins said. "... There's a different atmosphere. But the surroundings are a little bit different now than they were in the middle of April. Each and every game is huge. It means a lot, and we've got to play the game, and play it well.

"I told him the other day on the phone, I know he'll adjust fast to the speed. He's been here 10 years. He knows what it's like."