Wright's bat showing life at right time
Don't look now -- Mets' third baseman projected to hit 29 homers in 2010
NEW YORK -- In 2009, David Wright did not hit his 10th home run of the season until Sept. 12. It was a memorable one -- a two-out ninth-inning blast in Philadelphia that turned a 9-8 Mets deficit into a 10-9 win. But it was also Wright's last home run of the season -- a season he would surely like to forget.
Wright has had ups and downs in 2010 as well. But Saturday was definitely an "up" day, as Wright went 2-for-3 with a walk and three RBIs in the Mets' 6-1 win over the Florida Marlins.
One of those two hits was Wright's 10th home run of this season -- a two-run rocket launch to left in the third inning that landed in the second deck.
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With that very-long ball, Wright equaled his home run total from a season ago -- more than three months earlier than he reached that mark in 2009.
"This really is a park that you have to be able to hit the ball down the lines," Wright said. "I got a pitch that was inside, and I was able to turn on it."
Wright didn't do that often in 2009 -- in fact, his 10 home runs and 72 RBIs last season were downright shocking, considering he'd hit 33 homers and driven in 124 runs the previous year.
Many people pegged the Mets' new stadium, Citi Field, as the culprit, with its expansive dimensions and high walls.
And the park almost certainly had something to do with it. Many other players have struggled to hit balls out of Citi Field, too -- just ask Jason Bay, who hit 36 home runs for the Boston Red Sox last season but has only three in 2010 for the Mets.
Wright is still not going deep regularly at Citi Field -- this was only his second home run at home for the season and first since Opening Day. But his increased long-ball frequency overall indicates Wright is on track for a more, well, Wright-like season.
"Home runs don't really mean that much to me," Wright said. "I've hit 20 home runs in a season, I've hit 30 in a season, and I've hit 10 in a season. It's not that big of a deal. The important thing is when they come, and hopefully they come at some good times and help with some wins, and that was the case today, so I'll take it."
"I don't think he's that concerned," manager Jerry Manuel said, when asked about Wright and his home run production. "I don't know how far that ball went [today], but it would have gone out of any ballpark, that's for sure."
Wright has had other issues in 2010. His current batting average -- .270 -- is 36 points below his career average of .306. And he's on pace to strike out more than 200 times -- very uncharacteristic, considering his career-high in strikeouts is 140, which he set last season.
But his manager still likes what he sees from his third baseman.
"I think the thing that impresses me most is that he came back and got a base hit with a guy on second and two outs [in the fifth inning]," Manuel said. "And those are the things we need from him."
But you've got to admit, everyone digs the long ball, too. And after today, Wright's projected season totals for the 2010 season are now 29 home runs and 114 RBIs.
The Mets, and their fans, would sign for those totals in a heartbeat.
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