David Wright, the Mets’ longtime face of the franchise, again faces an extended stay on the disabled list. This time he will be sidelined by a herniated disc in his neck.
Though the club refused comment, a source confirmed Thursday night that Wright officially will be placed on the DL Friday before the Mets begin a three-game series in Miami.
Wright’s injury is the latest blow for a Mets lineup that already has lost first baseman Lucas Duda and catcher Travis d’Arnaud for substantial chunks of time.
Utilityman Matt Reynolds is expected to take Wright’s place on the roster, though Wilmer Flores figures to play third base as the Mets weigh whether to trade for a longer-term solution.
It’s unclear exactly how long Wright will be sidelined, though a similar injury to former closer Bobby Parnell eventually required surgery. As of Wednesday, such an option had not been discussed.
Nevertheless, the storm clouds have been building for Wright, who began the season with his health already hijacked by the back condition spinal stenosis. But his balky back cost him only one game. Instead, it will be his neck injury that triggers another round of concern that his days as a dependable and productive major-leaguer could be coming to a painful end.
Entering this season, Wright was owed $87 million. He’s signed through 2020.
Wright has not played since May 27. He was hitting .226 with seven homers, though he had a stunning 55 strikeouts in 137 at-bats. His struggles at the plate also came with diminished range and arm strength at third base.
Nevertheless, Wright, 33, had shown signs of a modest turnaround. He had homered in each of his last three games, though uncertainty with his neck had forced the Mets to play shorthanded.
Wright first hoped that anti-inflammatory medication might help the condition. When the effects were minimal, he received a pain-killing injection in hopes that it would quiet the pain.
Apparently, it did not. Just like last season, the Mets will be without Wright for an extended period.
For now, it appears the Mets have little interest in promoting second baseman Dilson Herrera and shifting veteran Neil Walker from second to third.
Instead, the 24-year-old Flores looks to be the Mets’ next option. But he has regressed at the plate, hitting .167 with a homer and two RBIs during a bumpy transition into a utility role.
If Flores’ struggles continue, the Mets could be forced to explore the trade market, especially given the uncertainty regarding a return for Wright.