David Wright walked slowly back into the New York Mets clubhouse after most of his teammates were already gone and discussed a topic as foreign to him as any — watching games instead of playing in them.
That is the new reality for the All-Star third baseman and team captain, at least for the next 3 to 5 weeks, because a hamstring injury sustained Friday night has relegated him to being a spectator.
"This is something relatively new to me. I’ve been fortunately pretty healthy throughout my career," Wright said in a soft tone after the Mets lost 4-3 in 12 innings to the Kansas City Royals on Saturday, hours after he went on the disabled list.
Wright was dealing with a sore hamstring for about a week, but decided to play through it at Washington and Miami. He believed it was more of a cramp than anything serious, trusting he knew the difference between being hurt and being injured.
"We take pride in going out there and playing through certain things. I certainly do that," he said. "I didn’t think by going out there and playing that this would happen. I don’t think anybody thought this would happen."
Wright underwent an MRI on Saturday morning and found out the news he was already somewhat expecting.
Although he tried to play at a curbed level to protect himself, the natural instinct took over when he sensed he would beat out an infield hit in the 10th inning Friday night.
"I don’t think there is any way it could have been prevented, but here we are and you deal with it," said Wright, who has played in 105 of New York’s 108 games this season.
New York would go on to win 4-2 in 11 innings on Friday without him, but couldn’t make it two straight.
"There are certain guys you really almost can’t afford to lose," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "He would fit that category for us.
"David Wright is a star and you’re going to miss his presence in your lineup. Any team that loses their number one player, it’s a huge hole to fill."
The Mets recalled outfielder Mike Baxter from Triple-A Las Vegas, and he arrived in New York on Saturday morning from Nashville, Tenn., where the minor league club is playing.
Justin Turner took Wright’s place at third base on Saturday, and first baseman Josh Satin filled his No. 3 slot in the batting order. Satin had a two-run single to tie the game in the eighth inning Saturday.
Collins wouldn’t commit to any plan beyond Saturday.
"We may have to make some lineup adjustments if it’s going to be a long-term thing," he said. "If it’s going to be two weeks, maybe we can just buy some time with some other guys."
One possibility Collins offered is moving Daniel Murphy from second base back to third, which might be his best position.
"Somebody has got to hit third on this team, too," Collins said. "That’s another hole to fill. Somebody has got to do it. You can’t sit there on a daily basis and say, `Gee, David is not here.’ We know he’s not here.
"We’re not asking anybody to try to be David. They’ve got to be themselves, but somebody has got to hit in those lineups. We just can’t leave it blank."
Baxter was sent down to Las Vegas, along with first baseman Ike Davis on June 9 when Satin was called up. Davis has also since returned to the Mets.
Baxter batted .212 with no home runs and four RBIs in 85 at-bats over 41 games with the Mets earlier this season.
"Anytime you get sent down you’re always hoping you get a chance to come back. You don’t take that for granted," Baxter said. "I really wish it wasn’t on these terms. Watching David getting hurt last night, nobody really wants to see that. He is the heart of this team.
"Somebody is going to have to step up and we’re going to have to try to pick up the slack for him. It’s a big hole to fill. I don’t know if one guy can do it. It’s probably going to have to come from a couple of us. Hopefully we do."
The Mets were already dealing with multiple injuries in the bullpen on Friday before Wright got hurt.
New York closer Bobby Parnell is unavailable until at least Sunday because of a stiff neck. Left-handed setup man Josh Edgin went on the disabled list on Friday, and is expected to be sidelined 4 to 6 weeks because of a stress fracture in a rib.
Veteran reliever Pedro Feliciano was brought up on Friday from Las Vegas and he made his first major league appearance since 2010.
Carlos Torres, who was scheduled to be Saturday’s starter, was returned to the bullpen on Friday, and he earned the win with a two-inning effort. He will stay as a reliever for now as the Mets are abandoning their six-man rotation until Jonathon Niese returns soon from a shoulder injury.
Jeremy Hefner was moved up from his Sunday start to pitch in Torres’ place against the Royals on Saturday. Zack Wheeler, used as a pinch-runner on Friday, will take the mound Sunday.