PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - If you see something, say something.
At least that was David Wright's thinking on Tuesday, when he and Bobby Parnell chided prized prospect Noah Syndergaard for taking a lunch break during an intrasquad game.
Newsday reported that the standoff ended with Syndergaard scurrying back to the dugout after Parnell confiscated his lunch plate and dumped it in a nearby trash can.
A day later, Wright said he regretted only that the incident played out in front of media members. The Mets captain even apologized to Syndergaard later for not being more "aware of my surroundings."
Wright, however, refused to back down from the content of the message he wanted to send.
"If you see something that could help a player out, you say it," Wright said Wednesday morning. "It's the way that we kind of get on each other that maybe some people don't get or understand. I've got three younger brothers and that's the way that I deal with them. And that's what it's like in here: You've got some older brothers and you've got some younger brothers."
Syndergaard said he and Wright have spoken twice after the incident to "clear things up a little bit." Neither expects the issue to linger.
"It was just really a mistake on my part," Syndergaard said. "It was kind of straight-up ignorance on my part, just thinking I could go in there during a game and grab a quick bite to eat. But it was just a learning experience for me. I should've been on the bench."
Syndergaard wasn't scheduled to pitch during Tuesday's intrasquad game. And it's common for players to have individual schedules. However, Wright insisted that all young players must seize every opportunity to learn. In this case, that meant sitting in the dugout with everybody else.
"When there's something going on where [hitting coach] Kevin Long's talking to Michael Cuddyer out in the dugout about something, young hitters should listen to that," Wright said. "When Zack Wheeler's out there throwing, he's had some success in the big leagues, and [pitching coach] Dan Warthen is talking to him between innings, that's a good opportunity for a young pitcher to kind of sit in and learn something from them."
After he was pulled from the scrimmage, Wright stumbled upon the 22-year-old Syndergaard sitting at a clubhouse table with a plate of food.
The incident might have gone unnoticed if not for the unusual circumstances of spring training. Media access to the clubhouse is barred during regular-season games. But in the spring, it's common for reporters to be let in to conduct interviews with players coming out of the game.
Wheeler was conducting a group interview when Wright happened upon Syndergaard, the fireballing pitching prospect who admitted he sulked for part of last summer when he didn't get an expected big league call-up.
"Obviously, I chose to do it," Wright said. "So it's not the media's fault. I didn't notice that the media was within earshot."
Wright praised the way Syndergaard handled the situation, calling him "remorseful."
In a statement, Parnell said his relationship with Syndergaard is "all good."
"It's a clubhouse issue that needed to be handled," said Parnell, who also regretted that the exchange took place in front of media members.
Syndergaard said he appreciated Wright reaching out following the exchange.
"He didn't want me to think that he and Bobby were picking on me," Syndergaard said. "He just wanted to make it clear that he cared about me and they want me to be part of the team because they think I can contribute in the future."