New York Mets third baseman David Wright splinters his bat on a single off Milwaukee Brewers starter Zack Greinke during the fourth inning at Citi Field in New York on Tuesday.
NEW YORK (AP) Terry Collins is learning how to manage David Wright's work ethic and sense of accountability.
For the second time this season, Collins made a decision meant to make sure the Mets' best player stays healthy and productive, even if Wright objected. After a Mets reliever hit Milwaukee's best player, Ryan Braun, with a pitch, Wright wanted to make sure that he was the one who got hit by a retaliatory pitch.
Collins wanted no part of that. Not with the Mets trailing 8-0. So he sent up a pinch-hitter, and explained to Wright what was happening. An animated discussion between star and manager in the dugout followed.
"He wasn't angry at me, he was angry at the situation," Collins said Wednesday. "I'm not surprised he reacted the way he did. He knew it was his job to take one."
Said Wright: "Everything's good. Everything's good. Done and over with."
Last year owner Fred Wilpon came off as less-than-enthusiastic about Wright during interviews with The New Yorker, calling him "a really good kid. A very good player. Not a superstar."
With Wright now hitting a major league-leading .408, Wilpon said Wednesday: "I think he's playing like a superstar right now."
Tuesday's game was the second time this season Collins took the longterm view on the Mets' best player. In April, he took Wright out of the lineup before a game after learning that the third baseman injured a finger diving back to a base. X-rays later showed a small fracture, and Wright was held out while it healed.
At the time, Collins said he didn't want to watch Wright try to play through the injury. Last season, Wright played with a stress fracture in his lower back that sapped his power and his average until he sat out from mid-May until late July.
So Wright sat out for three games. Then he came back and homered on the first pitch he saw, and now he leads the majors with a .408 average.
Of course, if there had been a more realistic chance of the Mets winning the game, Wright wouldn't have gone anywhere.
"If the game was 3-3, he was hitting," Collins said. "And he probably would have had to wear one for the club."
That's just the way Wright would have wanted it.
"Terry and I have a great relationship, Wright said. "I love playing for him."
Reds manager Dusty Baker didn't want to address Collins' decision, but he wasn't surprised to hear that Wright wanted to take one for the team.
"That sounds like David Wright to me," Baker said. "That's the kind of cat you want."MORE IN Sports WireINDIANAPOLIS — Katherine Legge didn’t know she’d have a shot at the Indianapolis 500 until it was... Full Story
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