Wright hits single, makes nice play in first game

David Wright got his delayed exhibition season off to a quick

start.

After missing the first three weeks of spring training games

because of strained left abdominal muscle, the New York Mets’ star

went 1 for 2 and made a couple of nice plays at third base during

Monday’s 6-3 win over the St. Louis Cardinals.

”I’m happy with how I feel,” Wright said after playing four

innings. ”I just have to get back into the swing of things

now.”

Wright singled to left on a full-count pitch from Jake Westbrook

in the first inning, then grounded out to shortstop in the

fourth.

”I just got a good pitch to hit in a good count and found a

hole,” Wright said. ”I don’t think that’s an indication of my

timing. I’m going to need more work on that.”

He dived to his right in the second inning to snag Rafael

Furcal’s one hopper behind the bag, popped up and threw to first

for the out. He also ranged to his left to snag a bouncing ball by

Matt Holliday.

”It was an action-filled day over there,” Wright said. ”I got

a chance to dive around a little bit and run the bases a little

bit, so that’s a good thing.”

Mets manager Terry Collins plans to hold Wright out of Tuesday’s

game against Atlanta in Port St. Lucie.

”We’re going to give him tomorrow just to catch his breath, and

then he’s going to go probably two-or three in a row,” Collins

said. ”One of those might be a minor league assignment, where he

goes down and gets some at bats.”

New York hopes to get Wright about 30 at-bats before its season

opener on April 5.

”I’m sure I’ll be a little sore, but it will be that good sore,

like it’s the first game I’ve played in spring training,” he

said.

A five-time All-Star and two-time Gold Glove winner, Wright

missed two months last season because of a stress fracture in his

back. He hit a career-low.254 with 14 homers and 61 RBIs in 102

games.

New York holds a $16 million option for 2013 with a $1 million

buyout. If he is traded, the option is voided. Wright’s contract

does not include no-trade protection.

In his next-to-last start before the opener, former Cy Young

Award winner Johan Santana needed 29 pitches to retire the

Cardinals in the first. The left-hander walked three of his first

four batters, and two of them scored. Coming in, Santana had only

walked four batters in 13 1-3 innings during spring training as he

prepares to return from shoulder surgery that caused him to miss

2011.

”It was just one of those days where things take a little

longer,” Santana said. ”I made some adjustments and was able to

hit the inside corner and I was better after that.

Santana threw 88 pitches in five innings during his fifth start,

allowing two runs and four hits. He struck out five, did not have a

walk after the first inning, but he did hit a batter.

Holliday extended his hitting streak to 13 games with an RBI

single. Tyler Greene’s sacrifice fly drove in the second run.

NOTES: The Mets said they will honor Gary Carter before their

opener. The Hall of Famer, who helped them win the 1986 World

Series, died Feb. 16. Wife Sandy, son D.J. and daughters Kimmy and

Christy, and their families will be on the field during a moment of

silence and for the ceremonial first pitch. … The Mets agreed to

a minor league contract with RHP Chris Young, who is recovering

from shoulder surgery last May. … RHP Chris Carpenter returned to

Cardinals’ camp for the first time since four days worth of tests

to determine the source of the nerve damage that is causing

weakness in his pitching shoulder. … St. Louis reassigned OF

Adron Chambers to its minor league camp.