Wright plays, but Mets mindful of resting him
Team will strategize ways to get All-Star third baseman periodic days off
MIAMI -- With his team's offense struggling and his neck still somewhat stiff, David Wright approached Mets manager Terry Collins on Tuesday to say, "Look, I've got to be in the game." And so he was. But Collins said he might be careful about using Wright again on Wednesday, two days after his stiff neck sidelined him in Monday's series opener.
Wright nixed that idea, too, batting third and playing third base against the Marlins.
"That's why he is who he is," Collins said.
Still, it raises the discussion of how often Wright can play and still be effective. Because he appeared as a pinch-hitter Monday, Wright kept pace with second baseman Daniel Murphy and shortstop Ruben Tejada as the only Mets to play in all 26 games this season.
Collins said the goal for a player such as Wright is to appear in at least 150 games per season -- something he has been unable to do just twice over the first eight full years of his career.
"That's kind of where David's always been at," Collins said. "You go into Spring Training and you always say, 'Geez, if I could get 150 games out of my starters, we should be pretty good.' So you look at that, and knowing that there's sporadic days off coinciding with the scheduled days off, that should keep them healthy."
Finding the right spots for those days can sometimes prove difficult, considering the third baseman's constant desire to play. But Collins said Wright begrudgingly understands when he needs a rest, and he works with his manager to choose an appropriate day.
His willingness to play through injury, meanwhile, can rub off on other players, who may be more willing than Wright to ask out of the lineup with minor maladies.
"He's a warrior," Collins said. "And when you're sitting in his chair, he's a guy people look at and they watch. They know that he's important."
Collins, Parnell get on same page
MIAMI -- Mets manager Terry Collins did not wait long to smooth things over with closer Bobby Parnell, who was irked that Collins did not use him with a one-run lead in the ninth inning of Tuesday's 2-1 loss to the Marlins.
"He just said, 'I was ready to pitch,'" Collins said. "I said, 'I know you were. That's why I love you. That's why I salute you. That's why you're the closer. But I'm not going to blow you out.'"
Collins' concern stemmed from the fact that Parnell had thrown three innings over the previous two days, which the manager said was "asking a lot of a closer." Collins was unwilling to risk a recurrence of the minor elbow pain Parnell has experienced in years past.
"I'm just not going to blow this guy out," Collins said. "He's had some elbow [problems] -- nothing serious, but a year ago we did this and his elbow came up sore for a while. So I'm not going to do that. It's too early."
Joking that Collins had probably never seen him mad before, Parnell said he understood the decision immediately, calling his anger a natural competitive reaction.
"I understand what he said completely, and I agree with it," Parnell said. "Sometimes you don't want to hear it, and sometimes you want to be out there. But I'm thankful for it, and I appreciate what he's doing."
Collins wants Wheeler to do talking on mound
MIAMI -- More than most members of the Mets organization, Terry Collins understands the pitfalls of pitching in the Triple-A Pacific Coast League. Collins managed for years in the league, gaining a keen understanding of its reputation as a hitter's paradise -- and, by extension, a pitcher's nightmare.
So Collins was not surprised to hear top prospect Zack Wheeler's recent complaints about the difficulty of pitching at Las Vegas. He simply would have preferred for Wheeler to deal with those concerns in a different way.
"Anytime you say something like that, it sounds like it's an excuse," Collins said. "Fix it. That's all. You've got to go pitch, along with the other 125 pitchers in that league."
Wheeler did precisely that on Tuesday afternoon, striking out eight and walking one batter in his best start of the season. Limiting walks, Collins said, will be the fastest way for Wheeler to overcome the conditions at Vegas and potentially make his Major League debut later this summer.
• Former closer Frank Francisco (right elbow inflammation) will throw two innings in a Minor League rehab game either Wednesday or Thursday, then take a day off before attempting to pitch in back-to-back games. Not until he completes that progression will the Mets consider activating him.
• Mets manager Terry Collins said that left-hander Pedro Feliciano, who was sidelined last week with a bout of food poisoning, saw his velocity increase from the low- to mid-80s over the month of April. The Mets left Feliciano back in Florida when they broke camp last month, instructing him to work on increasing his arm strength.