The New York Mets announced in a statement on Thursday that third baseman and team captain David Wright will undergo surgery today (June 16) for a herniated disc in his neck. The surgery will take place in Marina del Rey, California, and be performed by Dr. Robert Watkins.
A timetable on Wright’s return is currently unavailable and will be determined based on the results of the surgery and Wright’s overall progression. Anthony DiComo of MLB.com noted that this type of surgery usually requires a “minimum three-month recovery.”
— Anthony DiComo (@AnthonyDiComo) June 16, 2016
The statement adds that weeks of rest, tests, and anti-inflammatory medication did not alleviate Wright’s discomfort, so surgery was the obvious outcome. Wright was placed on the 15-day disabled list on June 3 (retroactive to May 30). Earlier in the week, it was reported that Wright was considering surgery but was trying to avoid it as it may end his season.
Disappointed with the outcome, Wright issued a statement on the decision to go under the knife.
“After trying every way to get back on the field, I’ve come to realize that it’s best for me, my teammates and the organization to proceed with surgery at this time. My neck simply did not respond to any of the treatments of the past few weeks. While incredibly frustrating and disappointing, I am determined to make a full recovery and get back on the field as soon as I can to help the Mets win. I greatly appreciate the support of my teammates and our fans throughout the last few weeks.”
The Mets acquired Kelly Johnson last week to serve as insurance at third base alongside Wilmer Flores. With Wright’s future for 2016 unknown, the team may be in the market for an upgrade at the hot corner. The team may have some more money to do so as the Mets have insurance on Wright’s deal.
Mets have an insurance policy on Wright that allows them to begin collecting in late July, up to 75% of his pay. Could mean roughly 5M.
— Mike Puma (@NYPost_Mets) June 16, 2016
As David Lennon of Newsday points out, it is common for athletes to come back from a herniated disc. But for the 33-year-old Wright, who’s also dealing with spinal stenosis, the process becomes complicated. Wright was diagnosed with the condition last season after he went on the DL with a hamstring injury.
Spinal stenosis, also known as the narrowing of the spinal canal, is a condition that has no cure and will need to be monitored for the remainder of Wright’s career. This season, Wright’s workload was regulated through periodic days off and extensive pre-game preparation.
Rough day hearing D Wright is out for the year. His presence and leadership is irreplaceable. #LGM
— Noah Syndergaard (@Noahsyndergaard) June 16, 2016
In 37 games this season, Wright produced a slash line of 0.226/0.350/0.438 with seven home runs and 14 runs batted in (RBIs). Making consistent contact was an issue for Wright as he struck out 55 times in 137 at-bats. With this latest surgery, possibly ending Wright’s 2016, continues a frightening trend for a well-liked ambassador for MLB.
As previously mentioned by the Inquisitr, Wright has struggled to stay healthy and/or productive for several years. His last full season came in 2014 when he appeared in 134 games. Injuries hindered that season too, as he hit just eight home runs and posted a 0.269/0.324/0.374 slash line.
If the neck surgery ends Wright’s season, his last two campaigns feature eerily similar statistics.
Some attribute Wright’s deteriorating health to a stress fracture he suffered in 2011. The injury cost him two months that year and possibly led to developing spinal stenosis four years later. Manager Terry Collins has frequently spoken about Wright’s injuries and admits that it’s sad watching a franchise leader’s fall from grace.
“We won’t know until we see how he comes out of the neck thing, but this guy’s been a special player in baseball,” Collins said to the New York Post. “Certainly being the captain and the face of this organization, a manager’s worst nightmare is to see a star start to fade.”
[Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images]