Saturday, April 14, 2012
Finger broken, Wright still has 3-hit return
By Adam Rubin
Broken pinkie? Idle for four days? No problem.
David Wright pounced on the first pitch he saw since Monday, sending a first-inning offering from Vance Worley over the center-field wall for a 428-foot homer in his return to the lineup Saturday as the Mets beat the Phillies, 5-0.
"Might as well and see how it's feeling," Terry Collins said after Wright went 3-for-5 in his first game back. "Might as well swing as hard as you can so you can get it over with, see if there's any pain. I'm not surprised. He's been swinging great. A few days off and he jumps back in there and is still swinging great."
Said Wright: "I jumped on that first one and kind of got lucky. … It's good for the confidence, it's good for the psyche when you do well your first at-bat back. It kind of puts that doubt in the back of your mind."
Worley intended to mostly pitch Wright inside to test the finger. But he tried to go away on the first pitch and missed over the plate.
"That was the plan. We just didn't do it good enough," Worley said. "I didn’t expect him swinging first pitch. Good for him. Wright was right."
Wright had the hand heavily wrapped afterward. During the game, he continually did hand exercises, including fiddling with clay, in order to keep the pinkie loose and avoid the finger stiffening.
"You feel it more on the bad swings and the balls off the end of the bat than you do the balls that you hit cleanly," Wright said. "Hopefully it only gets better. So that's the good thing. Like I said, you're hesitant. You know how you felt when you did it, so you're a little hesitant. And once you make a few plays and get a couple of at-bats, that hesitancy leaves your head."
The exact feeling?
"It's like you would imagine a fractured bone feeling," Wright said. "The main issue for me is I've got to make sure it doesn't stiffen up. Because once it stiffens up it's tough for me to get the mobility that I want."
Wright did not have any errors, although a few throws were imprecise.
"It was OK," Wright said. "Like I said, it's going to be a challenge. I don't think there's any question about that. I'm glad I got some chances. [Jon] Niese is a tough guy to play defense behind -- it's good to play defense behind, but it's tough -- because you get a lot of action, you get a lot of balls over there with those righties pulling the cutter. But I'm glad I was able to get a few balls and make the plays because that helps the confidence too."
Wright needed reminders a couple of times from first base coach Tom Goodwin, but he held batting gloves in his hands while on the basepaths to avoid getting into a situation where he would compromise the finger on a slide. He was on base twice aside from the homer.
"I was anxious to see him this morning," Collins said. "When he was in the cage this morning, I was just concentrating on his hands, to see if he was letting go of the bat early And he didn't. I watched him take batting practice downstairs and outside today and he looked great. That's why he's a star. The other balls he hit, he hit good. He's jumped back right in the fire.
"As I said earlier, when a guy like David Wright goes out and plays with a broken finger, and everybody knows he's got it, and plays the way he plays, all of a sudden the other guys, they don't hurt as bad. When they have something a little minor, they say, 'Hey, look, he can do it. So can I.' I think it sends a big message to everybody on the club."
As for how he might feel Sunday, Wright added: "I'm going to make sure I ice it and do all the exercises I'm supposed to do. Hopefully that will eliminate some of the swelling and some of the stiffness. But I'm sure tomorrow will probably be a little stiff."