NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Mets third baseman David Wright expects to resume baseball activities next month following back surgery last spring.
General manager Sandy Alderson said Tuesday the Mets captain will report to the team's Florida complex in January, a month or more ahead of spring training. Wright, who turns 34 on Dec. 20, had surgery June 16 to repair a herniated disk in his neck and is in California.
"He's simulating baseball activities at this point. He's still under the thumb of his back doctor," Alderson said at the team's holiday party. "So once he gets back to the East Coast and we have better access to him, we'll ramp him up. I don't think it's because he can't. It's just part of the routine. It's not like he's had a setback."
Alderson said Wright's activities included running, getting in crouches and moving laterally, but not swinging a bat or even emulating a swing. Wright plans to report to Port St. Lucie, Florida, in early to mid-January.
After missing much of 2015 with a strained right hamstring and spinal stenosis, Wright hit .226 this year with seven homers, 14 RBIs and 55 strikeouts in 137 at-bats.
Noah Syndergaard played Santa — wearing a blue suit for Mets colors — at the party for children and was assisted by a pair of teammates as elves, Jose Reyes and Brandon Nimmo.
Reyes, who returned to the Mets last summer and played third base in Wright's absence, will get time in the outfield during spring training. He has played one game in the outfield as a professional, at rookie-level Kingsport in 2000.
"I'm ready to do whatever they ask me to do," said Reyes, a four-time All-Star at shortstop. "I'm looking forward to the experience."
New York has not decided whether to give closer Jeurys Familia (Dominican Republic) and infielder Asdrubal Cabrera (Venezuela) permission to play winter ball to prepare for the World Baseball Classic in March. Familia faces a possible domestic violence suspension, and Cabrera is coming off a knee injury.
"It's something we want to be very careful with," Alderson said.
Alderson noted young outfielders Michael Conforto and Brandon Nimmo were on Italy's preliminary roster. Conforto was born in Seattle and Nimmo in Cheyenne, Wyoming.
"All the players whose names end in 'O' will be playing for Italy," Alderson quipped. "That's the key to a passport, as I understand it."
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