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Mets star David Wright feeling fine after season hurt by shoulder injury

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PORT ST. LUCIE, Florida — For all of the statistical analysis used in baseball today, David Wright sees things very simply.

"There's no question in my mind, if I do what I'm capable of doing, we're a better offense," the New York Mets star third baseman said Sunday. "If I do what I did last year, we're going to be not as good of an offense."

Wright played through an injured left shoulder for much of 2014, which resulted in him hitting a career-low eight home runs before he was shut down for good after a game on Sept. 8. He batted just .269, his second-worst average.

Wright wouldn't blame the injury for last year's modest output, but manager Terry Collins said it was a major factor.

"One thing about David, he's never going to make an excuse, ever," Collins said. "He has never has, never will. But I think a lot of it had to do with that. He just couldn't get the bat through the zone with the speed you need to have to hit for power."

"I'm not worried about power with David Wright. I know David Wright does what he does offensively where you're looking up and he's hitting .320 or .318. He's going to hit some home runs because he's making better contact," he said. "I just think the shoulder was a huge issue. He's our guy, he's our leader and he just had to brush off the injury and try to play through it, which he did."

PHOTO: New York Mets third baseman David Wright prepares to head out to a practice field during spring training baseball practice Saturday, Feb. 21, 2015, in Port St. Lucie, Fla. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
New York Mets third baseman David Wright prepares to head out to a practice field during spring training baseball practice Saturday, Feb. 21, 2015, in Port St. Lucie, Fla. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Wright said he enters this spring training completely healthy and will not have any restrictions once full-squad workouts begin Thursday.

Like many of the Mets, Wright spent much of the offseason at the team's spring training complex working out with fitness guru Mike Barwis and said all the focus on rehabbing his left shoulder also helped strengthen his right shoulder.

Now 32, Wright said he has to make some minor adjustments — sliding feet-first, taking occasional days off and training "smarter" to help him stay healthy for a full season.

"It's probably not in my best interests to play 162 games," he said. "A good off-day here and there can be beneficial to me and the team. ... A well-timed off day can do wonders during the course of a season."

With the Mets openly talking about postseason expectations, Collins said Wright being fully healthy will be critical.

"You're taking about the middle of your lineup," Collins said. "It changes the entire lineup. When your star player is playing the way he's capable of playing, it takes a lot of heat off everyone else. When David wasn't hitting, all of the sudden we had to have Lucas (Duda) hit or we had to have Murph (David Murphy) hit or Grandy (Curtis Granderson) instead of letting those guys be themselves because David's himself."

NOTES: While Wilmer Flores clearly is the front-runner to start at shortstop, Collins said it will be an open competition between Flores and Ruben Tejada. ... Pitcher Matt Harvey, who missed all of last season rehabbing from elbow-ligament replacement surgery, expects to face hitters Thursday or Friday. Harvey threw one curveball during a bullpen session Sunday that Collins said was "stinkin' dynamite."

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