David Wright is returning to the Mets’ active roster, though not in the way that he had hoped.
Mets COO Jeff Wilpon opened Thursday’s press conference at Citi Field by saying that although Wright’s body has not responded the way it needed to, “out of respect for him personally, professionally, and for our fans, we want to give him this opportunity.”
Wright, who Wilpon referred to as “one of the finest players and people to ever wear the uniform — Mets uniform or any uniform,” will be activated prior to the team’s final homestand on Sept. 25, and will start at third base on Saturday, Sept. 29.
“I think I’m hopefully out of tears for this one, but I spoke to the guys a couple of minutes ago,” Wright said as his teammates and media looked on. “To my teammates, coaches and staff, it’s certainly been the honor of a lifetime to take the field with you and serve as your captain.”
Wright, who hasn’t played in the majors since 2016 due to a variety of health issues including chronic spinal stenosis, had been working his way back over the last month or so — playing 12 rehab games before recently joining the Mets (while remaining on the disabled list) to continue rehabbing with the team.
Through tears, Wright explained one of the reasons why he wanted to come back.
“I always wanted to be on the field again to have my daughter see me play,” Wright said. “I cannot express my gratitude and appreciation for everything this organization has done and continues to do for me. … this is my extended family.”
While Wright will be active for one final homestand, he said he can’t see any possibility where his career continues beyond 2018.
“The way I feel right now and from everything that the doctors have told me, there’s not gonna be any improvement,” he said. “I don’t see that as a possibility.”
In 13 seasons with the Mets, Wright — a seven-time All-Star — has hit .296/.376/.491 with 242 homers, 390 doubles, 970 RBI, and 949 runs scored.
Among the all-time Mets records Wright holds are hits (1,777), doubles, total bases (2,665), RBI, and runs scored. He is second all-time in homers, behind Darryl Strawberry (252).
Wright is under contract through the 2020 season — set to earn $15 million in 2019 and $12 million in 2020, during what is the final year of the eight-year, $138 million deal he signed prior to the 2013 season.
“I love the game; I love the relationships; I love the preparation; I love talking baseball, anything about the game,” Wright said. “I miss it. I wish that things could’ve certainly turned out differently physically, but as far as regrets go, I can’t say that I have regrets.”