Over the past three seasons, David Wright has been able to play only 75 games due to spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the spine. He didn't play at all in 2017, despite holding optimism about his health.
What began as optimism in 2017 would end with two more surgeries and now, a month away from spring training, Wright admits he's uncertain about his comeback chances. But he's going to keep trying.
"It really hurts to say this, but I obviously can't be relied on to go out there and do what I've done throughout my career," Wright said, via Anthony DiComo of MLB.com "That is a tough thing to say."
Even if Wright were not to take another at-bat, he'd leave as the Mets leader in at-bats, hits, runs, doubles and runs batted in. The seven-time National League All-Star is a career .296/.376/.491 hitter with 242 home runs and 970 RBIs.
"The surgeries are obviously serious stuff, but it just kind of plays with your mind mentally, where you don't know how your body's going to hold up," Wright said. "You don't know how you're going to feel a month from now. You don't know how you're going to feel a couple weeks from now. You're hoping that it continues to get better, but you just don't know."
Wright admits he doesn't know if he's currently able to throw a baseball as he's not there yet in his rehab.
"Everything is a concern for me," Wright said. "I haven't progressed to the point where I'll know how it feels to throw a baseball until we get closer to spring. I certainly don't know how the back is going to hold up."
If doctors tell Wright that his quality-of-life will be negatively affected by continuing to try to come back to baseball, that'll be when he stops trying. But doctors haven't told him that yet, so to the people who tell him to just retire, he says it's not that easy.
"I don't want to have regrets," Wright said. "If I can't play? Then I'll be able to say I gave it my best shot, I really did. And if I can play, which obviously is the goal, then that's great as well. And that's ideal. I just don't want to have any regrets when it's all said and done that if I would have just put in some more work, or if I would have just concentrated a little more on the rehab program, I might have been able to do it."
The 35-year-old Wright hopes he's not done yet.
"When the end comes, the end comes," Wright said. "Hopefully, I've got a little more left. But I guess that's to be determined."