<
>

David Wright dealing with stiffness, but back OK

TAMPA -- New York Mets third baseman David Wright is dealing with stiffness, but manager Terry Collins said that it is nothing alarming.

Wright, treated conservatively early in camp, began seriously ramping up his activity in the past week. He played in back-to-back Grapefruit League games for the first time this spring training on Saturday and Sunday.

“Not in his back -- but his legs are stiff, which we totally expect,” Collins said Tuesday afternoon. “The other day he scored from first base on that double. I don’t think he’d run that hard yet. He’s doing fine. He feels good.”

Collins indicated that Wright should get at-bats against minor leaguers Wednesday. He then is due to play Grapefruit League games Thursday and Friday.

Collins all but ruled out using Wright as the designated hitter to open the season in Kansas City to further ease him into games as the captain tries to manage the spinal stenosis in his lower back. Collins suggested he is likely to use an outfielder as the DH at spacious Kauffman Stadium, which presumably would create a spot in the outfield for Juan Lagares to patrol.

“He’s one of the best third basemen in baseball,” Collins said about Wright. “Do we have a better guy to put at third base than him? I don’t think we do.”