MIAMI -- David Wright was already in full uniform, from his cap down to his spikes, and was prepared to head out for pregame introductions Thursday night when he received some disappointing news: He had been scratched from Team USA's starting lineup with a rib injury that could mean the end of his participation in the World Baseball Classic.
Wright told reporters that Team USA manager Joe Torre and the medical staffs for the New York Mets and Team USA decided jointly to keep him out against the Dominican Republic.
Wright will not play against Puerto Rico on Friday night. Torre said he doesn't expect Wright to be available if the team advances to the semifinals in San Francisco on Sunday and Monday. Wright flew to New York Friday morning to be examined, but is expected to be at Mets camp in Port St. Lucie, Fla., on Saturday.
"I'm optimistic that they'll allow me to come back and rejoin these guys,'' Wright said before Team USA's 3-1 loss. "I wanted to play tonight, but I understand the decision. I'm disappointed. That goes without saying. But I completely understand the direction that they're going.''
Wright said he began feeling discomfort in his left ribs about a week ago when Team USA began preparing for the WBC with workouts in Arizona. He said the Team USA injury reports sent up "red flags'' to the Mets when they saw them in Port St. Lucie, and that he received a call from trainer Ray Ramirez on Thursday.
Wright later conferred with Torre and Mets general manager Sandy Alderson, and the decision was made that the third baseman should sit out against the Dominicans.
"In terms of the injury and it's severity, we just don't know any more than David has related already publicly," Alderson said. "So until hes's actually examined, we won't know the exact nature of the injury. We won't know the extent of the injury. And we won't have any sort of timetable for his return."
The loss of Wright is a big blow for Team USA. He hit a pivotal grand slam to lead the squad past Italy in the first round, and is batting .438 (7 for 16) with 10 RBIs in the tournament. The Americans managed just one run on six hits against the Dominicans.
The U.S. faces Puerto Rico in an elimination game Friday night. If Wright can't play, the Americans won't be able to replace him. Under WBC rules, roster moves only can be made mid-round if there's a catcher injury or a family medical emergency/bereavement situation.
If Team USA advances to the semifinals and Wright is definitively ruled out, he then would be eligible to be replaced on the roster.
Wright said the injury bothers him more when he's "lounging around'' than when he's playing, and added that he's had difficulty sleeping in recent days because of the discomfort. Although he plans to lobby to continue playing in the WBC, he said his first priority is to be at full strength for the Mets in time for the regular season.
"Sandy said he knows I'm disappointed,'' Wright said, "and I told him I wouldn't do anything to jeopardize Opening Day. We both agreed that this was a decision that had to be made.
"I owe it to the Mets to listen to them and be ready for Opening Day. That's extremely important to me. It's something I obviously don't want to jeopardize.''
Wright was replaced at third base by Willie Bloomquist. He went 0-for-2 in the loss.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.