David Wright needs 6-8 weeks of rest for herniated disk in neck

MIAMI -- New York Mets captain David Wright will refrain from baseball activity for the next six to eight weeks in a bid to return from a herniated disk in his neck while avoiding surgery.

Wright officially landed on the disabled list Friday. He already had been idle for a week as doctors unsuccessfully tried oral anti-inflammatory medication and then an injection in the neck in an attempt to alleviate pain and improve mobility so Wright could get back on the field.

While avoiding baseball activity, Wright "will undergo appropriate physiotherapy to protect the area," the team announced.

Wright will visit Dr. Robert Watkins in California on Monday. Watkins has been treating Wright for chronic spinal stenosis in his lower back.

Sources indicate surgery may be required to address the neck issue at some point if the situation does not sufficiently improve. Team officials do not believe there is a connection between the lower-back issue and the herniated disk in Wright's neck.

Manager Terry Collins has compared Wright's situation to a similar herniated disk issue with former Mets reliever Bobby Parnell. Parnell required surgery in September 2013.

Wright's extended absence is the latest blow to a struggling and depleted Mets lineup. CatcherTravis d'Arnaud(strained rotator cuff) and first baseman Lucas Duda (stress fracture in lower back) also are on the disabled list for extended periods.

The Mets enter Friday's series opener at Marlins Park ranked 29th in the majors with a .230 batting average and 28th in runs scored. They have scored a total of nine runs in their past five games. The lone win during that span came in a 1-0 victory against the Chicago White Sox, a gamestarted by Matt Harvey on Monday.

"We're not hitting very good," Collins said. "We need everybody to step up."

For now, Wilmer Flores (.167, 1 HR, 2 RBIs, 60 ABs) will assume the primary role at third base in place of Wright.

"You don't want to have anybody get hurt," Flores said. "It happened. Since I got here, I've been waiting for an opportunity. It's an opening. Knowing that you could be in the lineup every day, it changes everything."

The Mets have resisted the more radical idea of moving Neil Walker to third base and promoting prospect Dilson Herrera to handle second base. Walker started 13 games at third base with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2009 and 2010. He started 348 minor league games at the position.

Infielder Matt Reynolds has been promoted from Triple-A Las Vegas to fill Wright's roster spot.

With both starting corner infielders out for prolonged periods, general manager Sandy Alderson will attempt to upgrade at third base from outside the organization. The Mets did acquire James Loney last weekend from the San Diego Padres for cash to help plug first base. Loney had been playing with Triple-A El Paso. He is off to a 1-for-9 start with the Mets.

Last July, Alderson acquired Yoenis Cespedes at the non-waiver trade deadline. He also brought in Kelly Johnson and Juan Uribe. The Mets became the first team in major league history to rank last in runs scored on July 31 and still reach the World Series.

A team official predicted the Mets would be even more aggressive this year in pursuing outside help, although Flores will get a legitimate chance in the interim.

The 33-year-old Wright has been tormented by injuries in recent seasons. He missed four months in 2015 because of spinal stenosis in his lower back. That issue continues to affect Wright, who is always dealing with some level of discomfort.

The Mets do have protection for extended Wright absences. They began recouping 75 percent of his salary last year after his absence for spinal stenosis exceeded 60 days. That would again be the case this year.

Wright will earn $20 million a season through 2018, $15 million in 2019 and $12 million in '20.

Collins said he is convinced Wright will return this season.

Still, the manager said: "It's pretty shocking to hear about the length of time needed to get better."

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