PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Outfielder Matt den Dekker's eye-opening spring came to an unfortunate end in the seventh inning Sunday, when the rookie broke his right wrist diving for a ball. The Mets sent den Dekker to New York to determine whether surgery is necessary.
"We don't know how serious it is," general manager Sandy Alderson said. "It's serious enough, but we won't know any details about the exact condition or the recovery time until the doctors take a look up in New York."
Ranging back in an attempt to glove Tigers outfielder Austin Jackson's triple, den Dekker lunged unsuccessfully for the ball and landed awkwardly on his wrist. The Mets initially called the injury a bruise, but sent den Dekker to a local hospital for X-rays that revealed the break. Prior to leaving, den Dekker winced visibly as trainer Ray Ramirez tightened a wrap around his wrist.
"I'm pretty concerned about it," manager Terry Collins said before learning of the break. "Hopefully it's nothing serious and he doesn't miss a lot of time. He's played great. He really has had a great spring defensively and he's been fun to watch."
For a center fielder as aggressive on defense as den Dekker, injuries can be an occupational hazard. Collins admitted that much, but said he would never ask a player like that to change.
"The minute you stop diving," Collins said, "you'll be an average player."
Likely facing an imminent Minor League demotion anyway due to his struggles at the plate, den Dekker had been bound for Triple-A Las Vegas since the early days of spring. But the Mets did not want to see his first big league camp end like this.
Better news came Sunday for fellow center fielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis, who returned to the starting lineup as a designated hitter for the first time since March 3. Nieuwenhuis, who had been battling a bone bruise in his left knee, finished 0-for-3 with two walks.
"It felt really good to be back out there for sure," said Nieuwenhuis, who also appears ticketed for Vegas. "It's definitely something to build on."
Wright takes next step in rehab with full BP
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- In the most tangible progress to date in his rehab from a strained left intercostal muscle, third baseman David Wright took full batting practice Sunday at Tradition Field.
"It felt good, so I guess check this off the list," Wright said. "We'll hopefully progress a little more tomorrow."
Shooting for Opening Day, Wright has made steady advancement since Mets doctors cleared him to practice earlier this week, adding activities to his schedule each morning. On Saturday, Wright hit off a tee for the first time, also fielding ground balls. On Sunday, he took his hacks in a regular BP session, also fielding and throwing.
Wright noted that because he "can be my own worst enemy" in terms of his eagerness to progress, Mets trainers hide his rehab schedule from him until he arrives at the ballpark each morning. That serves the added benefit of giving him extra time to assess any lingering discomfort in his ribs.
"You've got to know the difference between where you're hurt or just kind of banged up," Wright said. "You wouldn't play in too many games if you woke up every morning and had to be 100 percent to play in the game."
As for Opening Day, Wright says he is "just as optimistic as … a week ago" that he will be ready to play against the Padres. Wary of MLB's disabled list backdating rules, the Mets will not slot Wright into a Grapefruit League lineup until they are certain he will be able to go.
But exactly one week out from the opener, they remain encouraged by his progress.
Mets cautious as Murphy tries to regain timing
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Like David Wright, second baseman Daniel Murphy sees no reason why his injury will prevent him from playing on Opening Day. But his team is not as certain.
Battling a strained left intercostal muscle, Murphy played in a Minor League game Sunday for the first time in nine days, working five innings at second base and finishing 1-for-2 with a single and a walk. But manager Terry Collins cautioned not to pencil Murphy onto the April 1 lineup card just yet.
"He's had absolutely no time to do what he normally does," Collins said. "That's why I'm saying we will make a decision at the end of the week which will benefit not only Dan, but the organization."
In the second of his three Minor League plate appearances, Murphy checked his swing and felt no pain, which he considered a positive. But Murphy said his timing at the plate was nowhere near where it usually is by this point of spring, likening his at-bats to "trying to hit an aspirin."
A tireless worker, Murphy has not been able to take his usual quantity of swings this spring, nor participate in his typical volume of defensive drills. So even if he is completely healthy and eager a week from now, Murphy may not be a lock to make the Opening Day roster.
"It's always a feeling," Murphy said of his timing at the plate. "Hopefully I just find it quicker this year."