David Wright returned to the Mets' lineup Monday from a bruised shoulder and went hitless in four at-bats. The usually optimistic Met did not dismiss his culpability in the team's offensive malaise.
"I expect myself to go up there and try and set an example," the captain said after a 4-1 loss to the Cubs. "I think that's part of being a leader. I don't necessarily worry about the other expectations, just more so my expectations."
Wright, who left Saturday's game after being hit in the back of his injured left shoulder, flied out twice, popped out and struck out in the ninth to boos from some who remained in the announced crowd of 23,271.
Terry Collins said Wright assured him he was ready to play. "I had a real long talk with him [Monday] morning to make sure he understands the importance," the manager said. "He can't aggravate it, it's a bruise, it's not anything structural. It's just a bruise and he said he's fine to swing."
The shoulder caused Wright to miss eight games, from June 27-July 4, with what the team called a bruised rotator cuff. Wright received a planned cortisone injection upon his return.
Wright refused to blame the shoulder for his subpar season, in which he is batting .270 with eight home runs and 56 RBIs. His batting average has dipped 15 points since the All-Star break.
"The shoulder's not an excuse," he said. "When I go tell the manager, I'm good to play. Again, I expect to produce."
A reporter from MLB.com told Wright that Collins said he might have developed bad habits at the plate because of the injury. Wright disagreed.
"I'm not thinking about my shoulder, I'm not thinking about bad habits," he said. "[I'm] thinking about going up there and trying to excel and do what I'm capable of doing, doing what I've proven I can do. When I don't do that, I'm as frustrated as anybody.
"I hold myself to a very high standard and I feel like I set a high standard for myself, and when I don't reach that standard, obviously I'm disappointed. But there's no sense in whining about it now."
Despite the shoulder issue, Wright has played in 118 of the team's 126 games. He is facing his lowest homer total since hitting 10 in 144 games in 2009, the Mets' first season at Citi Field. He has not homered since July 11.
Wright entered his 11th big-league season with a career average of .301. The third baseman is in the second year of a $138-million extension through 2020.
What does Wright think is the problem? "I don't know," he said. "I think that, again, I've kind of been searching mechanically. You don't get the results that you want, all of a sudden you start messing with some things, then it becomes kind of that grind, that search you hear people talk about. Obviously, I struggled. I don't think that I've met the standard that I've set for myself."