Mets make Wright the 4th captain in team history
As the newly appointed team leader, David Wright has already
made his first decision: He won’t wear the captain’s `C’ on his New
York Mets jersey.
”I don’t necessarily like to stick out too much,” Wright said
Thursday. ”I think the uniform is uniform for a reason. I think
that everybody is kind of in agreement that we’re going to do
The Mets officially made Wright the fourth captain in team
history. The third baseman joined Keith Hernandez, Gary Carter and
John Franco as Mets to be appointed captain – Franco was the last
player to hold the honor in 2004.
”This is probably one of the proudest days of my career so
far,” Wright said. ”I think to be viewed in this light both by
ownership, by Sandy and the front office, by the coaching staff and
probably most importantly by the players, is a great deal to
The Mets made another announcement, too, saying Jonathon Niese
would be their pitcher on opening day.
The 30-year-old Wright is a six-time All-Star and the team’s
career hits leader. He signed an eight-year, $138 million deal with
the Mets in the offseason that extended his contract.
Wright is currently sidelined by a rib strain and isn’t certain
that he’ll be able to play on opening day. The Mets start the
season April 1 at home against San Diego.
Wright became just the third active captain in the majors, along
with Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter and White Sox star Paul
Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said Wright was the ideal
”I think this is a recognition of his de facto leadership,”
Alderson said. ”Leadership is a funny thing, but it’s largely a
product of two elements: professional expertise and personal
”If you don’t have the professional accomplishments, you don’t
have the credibility. And if you don’t have the personal qualities,
you don’t have the respect leadership requires. There’s no question
David has brought both of those qualities to the table.”
Mets chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon said the decision
essentially was made when Wright signed the contract that will
extend his stay with the Mets.
”When you commit that kind of money and resources that we have
to a guy like this, you want to make sure he’s a leader, and he has
proven to be that,” Wilpon said. ”He’s easygoing, but he has a
way about him that he gets his point across. He gets to expand upon
that with the players.”
”I think he’s a special guy. I don’t know what words you
put, he’s just special. He’s always been a special kid,” Wilpon
Wright was a first-round pick by the Mets in the 2001 draft. He
made his major league debut in 2004 and now prepares
for his 10th season, owning a .301 career average.
Manager Terry Collins said he spoke to Alderson and the front
office about appointing Wright as the captain after his contract
extension. Wright didn’t want the distinction unless his teammates
endorsed him for it, though.
”We think it’s an honor few people get in the game, and
certainly it’s deserving,” Collins said. ”He’s not only the face
of the organization, but I thought this past winter when he made
the commitment he wanted to be a New York Met forever, it was the
The Mets also decided it was time to recognize Johan Santana
probably won’t be ready for the start of the season. Instead, Niese
will be on the mound.
Alderson said he was not ready to say Santana will begin the
season on the disabled list, but ”it’s extremely likely.”
Niese has given up just one earned run in three exhibition
starts, allowing six hits over 12 1-3 innings. He has walked five
and struck out seven.
”Jonathon has pitched great,” Alderson said. ”He has
tremendously over the last couple of years and very
deserves the chance to start opening day, and I’m looking
forward to seeing him on the mound.”
Niese was 13-9 with a 3.40 ERA last year.
The left-hander knew it was a possibility he would be chosen to
start the opener, but it wasn’t official until Thursday afternoon
when he was pulled into Collins’ office.
”I think I’ve put a lot of hard work into becoming a starting
pitcher, and to become the opening day starter, it means a lot,”