PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (AP) — David Wright gave the Mets something to get excited about — just by taking the field Friday.
The Mets' captain made his first appearance in a big league game since sustaining a rib injury during the World Baseball Classic, going 0 for 3 and playing five innings for New York in a 7-2 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals.
"I've said all along I'd be ready," Wright said of opening day. "Of course, I would have liked to have gotten a few more at-bats, but I don't have that luxury right now, so I'll make the most out of what I can tomorrow and I'll be ready to go. I feel pretty good considering the circumstances."
Wright was a late scratch from the United States' game against the Dominican Republic on march 14. He received a cortisone shot in his left side a day later. He said Friday he didn't feel any tightness or pain.
Mets manager Terry Collins said Wright returning to the lineup was important for the team.
"He's a big piece of our lineup, if not the biggest piece of our lineup," Collins said. "To get him out there changes the whole look of the team. It changes the look of the lineup, and we don't have to ask some guys to pick up a big load because he'll do that."
Wright began playing in minor league games this week but was in a good rhythm before his injury, sustained after recording 10 RBIs in four games at the WBC.
He said the experience with the U.S. team is why he was able to get ready so quickly.
"Game situations helped me feel more at ease, not only hitting but fielding," Wright said. "I know where to go on plays, positioning and things like that, it's helped me to this point. I think for sure I had a lot of at-bats before I was hurt and I'll get a handful afterward, but I feel more comfortable now than when I first came down for spring training."
The Mets needed something positive a day after learning ace Johan Santana will likely miss the season with a re-torn left shoulder capsule.
Santana had surgery Sept. 14, 2010, and did not make it back to the major leagues until last April 5. The 34-year-old left-hander hasn't pitched in any exhibition games during spring training because of arm weakness, and he threw his last bullpen session in early March without the team's permission. He had been throwing off flat ground.
"He's just kind of in a bit of shock. I don't think anyone was expecting this," Wright said. "For everyone, it's kind of shocking. It's disheartening."