Wright looks back on AFL, forward to Spring Training

Mets captain recognized as one of Fall League's top 25 all-time players

Wright looks back on AFL, forward to Spring Training

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- David Wright looks back on his time in the Arizona Fall League as one of the most important and most enjoyable stints in a long and decorated baseball career.

That's why Thursday night was so special for the New York Mets' third baseman and team captain, who was honored before the game between the Scottsdale Scorpions and Salt River Rafters at Salt River Fields.

Wright, who is recovering from neck surgery that cut short his 2016 season, came to Scottsdale to be named as one of the AFL's top 25 all-time players in conjunction with a promotional giveaway for Bowman Baseball Cards.

Fans were given special cards of Wright and Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel, and Wright said a few words before the game from the pitcher's mound while receiving a trophy from AFL director Steve Cobb.

"It's amazing," Wright said. "They were telling me about the other third basemen on the list [Nolan Arenado, Josh Donaldson, Evan Longoria and Kris Bryant], and you're talking about perennial All-Stars, possibly some future Hall of Famers on that list.

"So to be a part of that and to be honored for what I was able to come out here and do for a fall, this Fall League means a lot to me, and the award solidifies the feelings I have for the Arizona Fall League."

Wright remembers his 2003 season with the Peoria Javelinas very fondly for several reasons. He lived with five other Mets prospects at the time and enjoyed the camaraderie in the house and the competition on the field.

"The biggest thing for me was that this league was a trampoline for me the following year," Wright said. "I put up good but kind of mediocre years my first couple of years in the Minor Leagues, still kind of getting the hang of things.

"And I came here, had a really good fall, and it gave me all the confidence in the world, and the next year I was in the big leagues."

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Wright would also like to be in the big leagues come Opening Day 2017. He missed most of 2016 because of surgery for a herniated disk in his neck, but he said everything is progressing according to plan.

He will soon go to Los Angeles to see his doctor and surgeon and begin a month of therapy that will be followed by another doctor's appointment.

"I'll be about six months out of surgery at that point, and that should give me, knock on wood, the green light to have a normal offseason," Wright said.

"Assuming that nothing crazy happens between now and a month from now, I should be good to go for Spring Training."

Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @DougMillerMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.