VIERA, Fla. -- A rare sight unfolded in the Tradition Field clubhouse early Thursday morning. David Wright, the longest-tenured Met, sat at his locker packing a bag for the team's 70-minute bus ride to Viera.
Veterans rarely take long road trips -- former Yankees closer Mariano Rivera famously went years without owning a road gray jersey -- and Wright is no exception. Not counting end-of-spring exhibitions in which the entire roster travels, Wright had not gone on an hour-plus road trip since 2011 -- though, to be fair, injuries and the World Baseball Classic cut into his opportunities in recent years.
Still, Wright joked about wedging himself onto a bus filled almost entirely with younger players.
"I'm really confused right now as to what I'm supposed to be doing," Wright quipped as he packed his bag.
Wright finished 1-for-3 with a single and two strikeouts. He is batting .154 this spring.
Warthen reiterates contrition for inappropriate remarks
VIERA, Fla. -- Mets pitching coach Dan Warthen on Thursday reiterated his contrition for saying a racial slur in the clubhouse, adding that the episode is over.
"I've already made the apologies to all the appropriate people," Warthen said of the slur, which appeared Wednesday on the Wall Street Journal's website. "I don't think there are any ill feelings by any of the people in this room. I made a mistake, lived up to it and it won't happen again."
Mets general manager Sandy Alderson, who along with Warthen issued an apology statement won Wednesday evening, declined to comment when asked if Warthen would be disciplined. Through his interpreter, Jeff Cutler, Matsuzaka said he did not expect the episode to change his working relationship with Warthen.
"Everyone makes mistakes and Dan's already commented on it," Matsuzaka said. "I don't want to dig deeper into it or try to add to what it is."
Cutler, to whom the slur was reportedly directed, declined comment when asked if he was offended.
"Dan's already commented on it and Sandy's also talked about it," Cutler said. "I don't really have anything else to add."
Tejada's spring struggles continue at shortstop
VIERA, Fla. -- To shift the narrative away from Stephen Drew, Nick Franklin, or any other shortstop the Mets might summon from outside the organization, Ruben Tejada must play at a high level this spring.
So far, he is doing largely the opposite. Tejada committed his third error in six spring games Thursday against the Nationals, also going 0-for-3 at the plate -- including a double play -- to drop his Grapefruit League average to .067. Since returning from a leg injury that kept him out of several early games, Tejada has also made multiple defensive misplays that did not count as errors.
"Errors happen," Tejada said. "Everybody makes them. I have a couple this week, but I've just got to keep working and keep mentally positive and keep playing hard."
Dogging Tejada all spring have been rumors of Drew, a free agent, or Franklin coming to the Mets and taking his job. Though the Mets have shown little public interest in Drew, Mariners scouts have been a near-constant presence at Mets games this spring. Seattle has made clear its desire to trade a shortstop such as Franklin before the end of Spring Training, with the Mets being their most obvious partner.
Knowing all that, manager Terry Collins talked to Tejada during Thursday's game, telling him to relax -- that the job is his, so do not press.
"You're the shortstop here," Collins recalled telling Tejada. "Your name is going to be in the lineup. So go be the player we know you can be."