MIAMI -- David Wright's efforts to reboot an injury-riddled career absorbed another body blow on Friday, when the Mets announced he will abstain from baseball activity for six-to-eight weeks with a herniated disc in his neck. Wright, whose last six seasons have been marred by health issues ranging from a major stress fracture to a series of muscle pulls and, most recently, spinal stenosis, is unlikely to return until August.
The Mets placed Wright on the 15-day disabled list before Friday's 6-2 win over the Marlins, recalling infielder Matt Reynolds from Triple-A Las Vegas to replace him. In the captain's absence, Wilmer Flores will start regularly at third base.
"We just hope he gets better," manager Terry Collins said of Wright. "We just hope he gets through this. I know he'll put the time and effort into the rehab to get back. I just hope he gets back here soon."
The diagnosis, which Collins called "shocking," evaporates any chance the Mets had to receive a mostly full, healthy season from their longest-tenured player. Wright, 33, flew to California on Friday morning for an upcoming appointment with back specialist Dr. Robert Watkins, who oversaw his rehab from spinal stenosis last summer. Though Mets officials do not believe the two issues are related, Watkins is as familiar with Wright's health history as any team-affiliated doctor.
For now, Wright is not considering surgery, opting instead for a physical therapy regimen under Watkins' supervision. Collins said he was unsure if surgery could become realistic for Wright in the future.
In either case, the Mets hope that Wright, who was batting .226 with seven home runs in 37 games this season, will be able to help them down the stretch as he did last season. In the interim, they will look outside the organization for third-base help. A team official said the club will "cast a wide net" as it did a year ago in acquiring infielders Juan Uribe and Kelly Johnson, but it is in no hurry to make similar moves at this point.
So for the foreseeable future, the third-base job belongs to Flores. Recently removed from the DL himself with a minor hamstring pull, Flores entered Friday's play batting just .167 with one home run in 23 games. But his playing time was so sporadic early in the season that the Mets are confident regular reps at third base should help Flores produce.
"You don't want anybody getting hurt, but it happened," Flores said. "Since I got here, I've been waiting for an opportunity. It's an opening."
"Right now, with [Wright] on the DL as long as he is, my focus has to be on the 25 guys that are in there right now," Collins said, nodding at the clubhouse door. "We need everybody to step up. We're not hitting very good. We need everybody to step up."
Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. 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.