LOS ANGELES — Mets manager Terry Collins had just become the latest to offer his theory about the diminished strength in David Wright’s throwing arm. A few minutes earlier, he divulged that his third baseman was “probably” dealing with shoulder soreness.
Perhaps, Collins said, it stemmed from Wright making more of the kind of sidearm throws that ease the strain on his back.
But when asked about it on Wednesday, Wright offered a brief answer before walking away: “I’m fine.” And the night before, when Wright was questioned about the frequency of his power-sapping sidearm tosses, he insisted he makes throws from all angles.
With that began another uncomfortable round of determining just how much spinal stenosis has diminished one of Wright’s skills, and whether that regression proves to be temporary or permanent.
For now, the Mets have not discussed any drastic moves such as a position change for Wright, a career third baseman. But there is an acknowledgment that his throwing is merely another complication in the process of learning how to deal with spinal stenosis.
“Below average at best,” said one rival talent evaluator, who was taken aback by the drop-off in Wright’s arm strength from last season. “He literally cannot make any long throw.”
Wright’s arm drew scrutiny once more on Tuesday. After he fielded Adrian Gonzalez’s grounder, he touched third base for a force, then fired a weak throw across the diamond. It was not in time to nab the slow-footed Gonzalez.
“He’s had to make some adjustments because of his lower back,” Collins said. “Certainly, last year at the time he came back, he talked about during his rehab how they really forced him to make sure he’s really using his legs more. That’s something we’ve got to make sure we work on.”
Collins also wondered if Wright’s simply did not have enough time to gain strength in the spring, when the Mets intentionally eased the third baseman’s workload in an effort to protect his back. In that case, time might help.
“We’re hoping, we’re certainly hoping that’s the case, as we get into the summer and he’s throwing more and more,” Collins said. “You know, he still does long toss every day, so we’re hoping that yeah, it comes around.”