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200 Miles From the Citi


September 2, 2009 10:58 PM

WELCOME BACK DAVID WRIGHT

In a season full of disappointments, there was one highlight - maybe the highlight of the 2009 season - for the Mets on Tuesday night, when David Wright came back off the DL and went 1-for-3 in Colorado.

The initial reports were that Wright might miss the rest of the season after he was hit in the head by a Matt Cain fastball in mid-August. No one knew what to expect, since the injury was a concussion, and the Mets were going to be extra cautious with their star in an already-lost season, following a poorly-handled concussion and recovery suffered by Ryan Church with the team last year.

But Wright and the Mets played it smart, and there he was Tuesday night, back in the three spot in the lineup, and he got a hit into left-center field.

The only thing better would have been if the ball carried a little deeper into the gap and he could have legged out a double.

You see, I love rooting for David Wright. I want him to be a member of the Mets forever, and I want him to make a historical mark on the game. Unfortunately, he's not a big bomber (never more evident than his 8 homers this year), and he's not a speed demon (though a smart and efficient base runner), and he's not a tremendous defensive third baseman (though he has steadily improved each year since he was brought up).

He's just a solid baseball player. If there is a place where he can leave his mark on the game when everything is said and done, though, it's in the doubles column. So I watch David Wright for the doubles, and this year was going great until he spent his time on the DL.

Probably because of the vacuous Citi Field, Wright had 31 doubles in 116 games before the DL stint. That put him on a career-high pace of 43 doubles for the season, one behind the team record of 44 set by Bernard Gilkey in 1996.

Wright has made a run at that record every year he has played regularly, with 42 doubles in 2005, 40 in '06, and 42 in '07 and '08. He has 214 for his career, which puts him in a tie for second on the franchise list, 11 behind team leader Ed Kranepool.

So Wright will undoubtedly become the team leader in doubles, maybe even before the end of this season (though 11 doubles in 30 games is a tall order). But I have my eyes on a bigger prize.

Tris Speaker is the all-time leader in doubles, with 792. If Wright puts up 40 doubles a season for however many more years he plays, especially since it looks like Citi Field will sap some of his homers and turn them into doubles, I think it will be fun to see him chase that mark of 792. Believe me, I will keep you posted on this chase for as long as I write in this space.

So welcome back, David Wright. Now start hitting some doubles.

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