NEW YORK (AP) — David Wright finally made it back into a major league game Friday night, grounding out in his first plate appearance for the New York Mets in nearly 2½ years.
Sidelined by neck, back and shoulder injuries since May 27, 2016, Wright came up as a pinch-hitter against the Miami Marlins and received a warm ovation from the Citi Field crowd. With fans on their feet and his wife and two young daughters in the stands, the 35-year-old Wright led off the bottom of the fifth inning and swung at the first pitch he saw, a 96 mph fastball from Jose Urena.
The seven-time All-Star hit a bouncer to the left of third baseman Brian Anderson, who made a nifty pickup of a short hop and threw across the diamond to retire Wright. The Mets’ captain returned to the dugout, where he high-fived and hugged teammates with a big smile on his face.
Wright is scheduled to start at third base Saturday night against the last-place Marlins in his goodbye game before a sellout crowd. Unable to overcome all the injuries, he’s said he expects this weekend to mark his final appearance in the big leagues.
Wright was on deck when the last out was made in the fourth, causing the crowd to boo loudly when the inning ended. He clutched his bat and paced the dugout for most of the next half-inning before bounding onto the field even before the Marlins took their positions with a 3-1 lead in the fifth.
Once one of the top players in baseball, Wright was reinstated from the disabled list Tuesday but didn’t play in New York’s three-game series against NL East champion Atlanta this week. With the Braves trying to earn home-field advantage in the Division Series, the Mets did not want to compromise the integrity of the pennant race.
Wright made his major league debut for the Mets in 2004, three years after they drafted him 38th overall. He is the longest-tenured active player to spend his entire career with one team.
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