Mets Lose Wright and Game Tonight

Published on: 17th May, 2011

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New York — Just when this franchise finally looked to be on a positive track, having come off a road trip in which they had won two consecutive series, the bottom dropped out for them tonight in two ways.

Before tonight’s game against the Floridia Marlins even started, Mets general manager Sandy Alderson announced that David Wright, the face of the franchise and primary run-producer for this team, had been discovered to be playing the last several weeks with a fractured bone in his back and will be out for a minimum of three weeks.  

If that wasn’t bad enough for a team that needs all hands on deck to have a chance of success, they went up against arguably the best pitcher in the National League in Josh Johnson and through six innings were beating him.

Unfortunately, as dreary as the news of Wright’s injury and the rainy, foggy weather was for this game, the Mets made it even drearier by giving up a 1-0 lead they had eeked out against Johnson, eventually losing the contest in extra innings, 2-1.

Yes, it was a tough day all-around for the Metsies.

After gaining some momentum and confidence on the road, in which they took two out of three games against both the Colorado Rockies and Houston Astros, tonight’s game in front of their home fans against the Marlins could have been a big opportunity for the Mets to continue their little season-changing momentum swing. Coming into the game just two games under .500 after a dreadful start to this season, they sent Mike Pelfrey to the mound to continue their turnaround.

The Mets took the lead in the bottom of the fourth when Daniel Murphy, filling in for first baseman, Ike Davis singled to right field. He took second on a wild pitch and was promptly driven in by rookie second baseman, Justin Turner, continuing his hitting tear of late after driving in five runs yesterday against the Astros when Turner drove a double into right centerfield.

Pelfrey was making that one run lead stand up, mowing down the Marlin lineup through the first five innings, allowing just three hits.

The big righthander, Johnson got hit on the right forearm by a line drive off the bat of Carlos Beltran in the bottom of the fifth inning. He finished the inning but didn’t return for the bottom of the sixth. Johnson, who dominated the Mets the last time he faced them in Florida, was decidedly more human tonight, allowing seven hits in his five innings, striking out just three batters, and allowing the one single run. He labored with his control, throwing 85 pitches in his five innings.

Pelfrey had been rock-solid in his outing until the top of the seventh when he gave up a bomb of a home run to Mike Stanton, the Marlins’ second year outfielder whose shot reached halfway up the black in straightaway centerfield, estimated at 440 feet away. The blast from the 6’5″, 235 pound Stanton tied the score at 1-1. Pelfrey allowed two more singles in the inning before getting Hanley Ramirez, a star shortstop hitting close to the Mendoza Line at .210, to ground out to Reyes to end the threat.

Pelfrey ended up pitching seven innings, allowing six hits and the one run. His velocity on his fastball remained in the low to mid 90’s the entire game and the big guy looked like an ace for the Mets, a role they’ve been dying for him to take on since Johan Santana’s shoulder surgery rendered him to the sidelines until at least, July.

The game lasted into the 11th inning when Stanton led off with a single. It was Florida reliever Burke Badenhop, allowed to bat for himself, who smacked the game-winning single to center off Ryota Igarashi in the top of the inning that put the Marlins on top.

“We had a lot of things to our advantage and we didn’t capitalize on them,” Collins said.

As for Wright, Alderson said he has a stress fracture in his lower back. Wright had an MRI on his ailing back Monday at the Hospital for Special Surgery.

“I was shocked by it,” manager Terry Collins said about the diagnosis. “… He is without a question the face of this team. His presence in this lineup is something we need. We’re going to ask other guys to pick it up as of today. But I was shocked and unhappy.”

Alderson said the team will get a second opinion from another back specialist at the team’s hospital before committing to the disabled list. If the diagnosis holds, Alderson said Wright will rest for 10 days, then can resume baseball activities. Surgery will not be required, according to the GM.

“It would be a nonsurgical course of treatment,” Alderson said. “According to the information we have now, it would be rest for the next 10 days or so, with a return to baseball activity [afterward]. We’re not talking about something long term, but we are talking about something that may require him to rest for a period of time.

“David himself was surprised by it.”

The Mets believe the injury originally occurred April 19 while Wright tried to make a diving tag on Houston’s Carlos Lee at third base at Citi Field.

Wright said if the risk of worsening the injury did not exist, he might attempt to play through it. Still, he indicated stiffness the first week has turned to localized pain.

“I knew I did it on the Carlos Lee play at third base,” Wright said. “We were playing Houston at home. I don’t know what the date was. About the first week, I felt stiff and sore, but I felt that would go away the next couple of weeks. I was on some medication and some anti-inflammatories that really wasn’t doing much. That explains it now, because it’s not a muscular thing.

“It’s what could be a stress fracture. … It’s probably me somewhat being stubborn and not getting it checked out earlier. I don’t think it really limited me too much or prohibited me from doing anything. It was just a little uncomfortable.”

Wright has been on the DL only once in his career, after getting beaned by San Francisco’s Matt Cain in 2009.

“I don’t think anyone is concerned with feeling sorry for ourselves,” Wright said.

He’s hitting just .226 with six homers and 18 RBIs, but he certainly wasn’t about to blame the injury on his recent struggles.

“By no means is this thing a cop-out or an excuse for what I’ve done so far,” Wright said. “I’ve played through it and when I take the field, I expect to play at a certain level, and thus far I haven’t been able to play at that level.

“This two weeks, I’m going to get better. I’m going to get back in the lineup and I’m going to start playing at the level I expect.”

Alderson indicated the Mets would handle Wright’s absence from within the system. Options would include promoting Ruben Tejada to play second base and shift Justin Turner to third base. Or, the Mets could promote Nick Evans or Luis Hernandez to be available at third base.

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