PORT ST. LUCIE — David Wright understands at least some of the challenges ahead of Aaron Judge this season.
While the former Mets third baseman never set any home run records, he was named captain prior to the 2013 season, shortly after signing a huge deal to remain with the organization that drafted him.
“You have to deal with the pressure from both parts: being captain and living up to the contract,’’ Wright said Thursday at Clover Park, where he attended Mets camp before they faced the Braves. “It should be just outside pressure, but it’s tough because you’ve got this big new deal that you want to live up to and, on top of that, as captain, you don’t want to stink because your words might mean less if you don’t play well. … There’s enough pressure to perform in this game, and you try not to put more on yourself because of other things, but it’s impossible not to.”
Wright agreed to a seven-year, $138 million deal after finishing sixth in the National League MVP voting in 2012 and was having another excellent season in 2013 before a hamstring injury sidelined him for much of the second half.
A shoulder injury robbed Wright of performance in 2014, and he was diagnosed with the spinal stenosis that ultimately led to the end of his career in 2015, when he played in just 38 regular-season games before he struggled at the plate during the Mets’ run to the World Series.
“It was devastating for me to not be able to go out there,” Wright said of the injuries. “You’re supposed to be the captain of the ship, and you’re not even on the ship.”
Wright is optimistic Judge will have more success in his new role.
“In his case, he’s one of the best in the game,’’ said Wright, who doesn’t know the Yankee outfielder but has admired him from afar.
“He’s been great with everything, from on the field stuff, to marketing and personality,’’ Wright said. “He’s a great representative of Major League Baseball. I love the way he carries himself, the way he acts and the way he plays. I’m a big fan, and I’ve never even met him. I know how hard it is to perform and be genuine in New York, and he seems like a genuine dude that gets it.”
Wright, who is planning to make his first trip to Citi Field since 2018 this August to emcee the charity baseball game between the NYPD and FDNY, also spent time with third-base prospects Brett Baty and Mark Vientos on the back fields in his new informal role with the organization.
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