Wright set for Grapefruit League debut tonight

Wright set for Grapefruit League debut tonight

PORT ST LUCIE, Fla. -- David Wright's slow Spring Training progression has reached its most critical point. For the first time this month, more than two weeks after his teammates first took the field, Wright will play in a Grapefruit League game Friday night at 6:10 p.m. ET against the Nationals.

"I feel like I'm ready," he said.

Watch Wright's debut on MLB.TV

The Mets' plan for Wright to start at third base and receive two or three at-bats, at least the first of them coming against Nationals prospect Lucas Giolito. With just 16 days until Opening Night and more than half the Mets' Grapefruit League games already come and gone, he and the Mets finally feel it's time.

"I think that will be a fairly good indicator, getting some spring games under my belt," Wright said. "So far it's been so good, but that's without playing in any games. I feel like I've come up with a decent pregame routine that allows me to be somewhat fresh for the game, but also allows me to get prepared with my back and my body, to make sure that I give myself every opportunity to stay as pain-free and as healthy as possible."

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It is important to note that Wright's slow start to spring was by design. Coming off the most frustrating season of his career, which included a spinal stenosis diagnosis that will affect him for the rest of his playing days, Wright -- under the advisement of Mets doctors and trainers plus his own back specialist and physical therapist -- opted to spend significant time this winter doing nothing but resting.

He reported to camp weeks early, as usual, but Wright slowly eased into his usual load of baseball activities. So only now does he feel he is ready to play in actual live baseball games against Major League players.

Wright appeared in his second Minor League game on Thursday, finishing 0-for-3 with a sacrifice fly. He will not participate in any road games in Florida, because the Mets want to make sure he has ample time to stretch before each one of his appearances -- not to mention their desire for him to avoid long bus rides. But eight home contests should give Wright ample chance to log the innings he needs, supplementing them with Minor League games and two spring-ending exhibitions in Las Vegas.

"As I've said all along, we're right on schedule," Wright said. "We're on pace with the running program that we talked about. I'm on pace with playing in Minor League games, and I'm on pace Friday with playing in a Grapefruit League game."

Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.