- Adam Rubin, ESPN Staff Writer
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NEW YORK -- David Wright is out of the lineup for Tuesday's series opener against the Atlanta Braves because of muscle spasms in his neck that hinder his ability to turn his head to see incoming pitches. Still, the bigger issue is a balky left shoulder that Wright finally acknowledged is "not 100 percent."
Wright is hitting .215 with no homers and eight RBIs in 135 second-half at-bats. He is in the midst of a career-high 143 at-bat homerless drought. He nonetheless dismissed any suggestion that his subpar second-half performance is related to the shoulder issue, despite hitting coach Lamar Johnson recently saying about the captain's struggles: "When your shoulder is hurt, it's really tough."
New York Mets
Said Wright: "I would say that everybody has an opinion. Lamar sees me on a daily basis. Is the shoulder 100 percent? No. But that takes rest. And that's what the offseason is for. But is that the reason that I'm struggling the way I'm struggling? No. So I think it's not a reasonable assessment as to why I'm playing poorly. The assessment as to why I'm playing poorly is that I'm not producing the way I'm capable of producing. I don't think it's because of my shoulder."
Johnson had asserted that it's tough to get a swing started when your left shoulder is "in pain a little bit."
Countered Wright: "I just try to see the ball and hit it. I don't dig too far into the analytics of my swing. Murph does. I just try to keep it as simple as possible. I'm not sure what Lamar said, but, again, everybody is entitled to an opinion."
Wright said he has not received another cortisone shot in the shoulder since the one heading into the All-Star break. He insisted the damage is limited to a bruised rotator cuff.
"Nothing has changed," he said.
Sandy Alderson said Wright is not on the DL because the captain said he doesn't need to be there.
"Our decision is predicated essentially on feedback from the patient," Alderson said. "David has said that it's not a factor. Now, should we discount that somewhat? Probably. But at this point he said it's not a factor, so we've accepted that and agreed.
"Could we legitimately put him on the disabled list? Probably. But usually when you put somebody on the disabled list they have to agree with the placement -- not that it's an absolute requirement, or any sort of basic requirement. But that's sort of what happens. At this point, we're not there yet. Now, we'll continue to monitor it and see where it takes us."
As for the neck issue, which forced Wright to depart Sunday's game at Dodger Stadium in the third inning, the captain said: "It's getting better. I was just having some issues turning completely to my left. That would be problematic, since that's the way I have to look at the pitcher. I would have liked to get it going and warmed up and tried to play today, but the doctors want to see me. And they want to continue to do treatment on it and make sure when they do put me out there I won't have to come out of the game early again. ...
"I feel like when my neck is ready to go, then I should be ready to go. Again, hopefully this offseason will be the time to get back to 100 percent. As I've said all along, when I am put in the lineup, I expect to perform at a certain level. When I don't do that, I'm disappointed and I'm upset and frustrated. That's been the case."
Meanwhile, Terry Collins has suggested he may consider moving Wright from the No. 3 hole. Wright said he would have no issue.
"I've hit all over the place -- from my first year seventh, [to] I've hit third, fourth, fifth, sixth," Wright said. "I think I hit second a couple of times. The lineup makes no bit of difference to me."