David Wright “will deal with back pain for the rest of his life”


Mets third baseman David Wright missed four months last season due to spinal stenosis, which is a narrowing of the spinal canal that compresses and inflames the nerves. The phrase “touched a nerve?” How about “bone literally digging into nerves.” It causes sharp pain in the lower back and can be utterly debilitating. Not just a thing that keeps you from playing baseball well, but something which prevents you from simply functioning.

I have a passing familiarity with it because my father has dealt with it. He’s 72 and doesn’t try to swing baseball bats, sprint to outrun throws or field hot shots at third base. If it’s keeping a generally healthy person like my dad from getting out of a chair, imagine the impact it has on a person who has to push his body to extremes simply to do his job like David Wright does.

Yet Wright has come back from it. Indeed, after returning last year he excelled, hitting nearly as well as his career norms in 38 regular season games. How did he do it?

With a punishing rehabilitation regime, as detailed in Men’s Fitness. It takes hours of work every day just to get him in condition to do the baseball work every other player has to do. And it takes additional work before that to get into condition to do the bulk of the conditioning work. Stenosis is a condition that has caused many other athletes, some of which are interviewed in the article, to retire. Even if one doesn’t want to retire from it directly, the work required for Wright to be at his best despite the condition is enough to make many athletes blink and wonder whether it’s truly worth it.

Wright perseveres. He will deal with the pain in his back for the rest of his life. For the next few years he’ll deal with it and with baseball. No easy trick.

Padres claim 2-time All-Star catcher Gary Sánchez off waivers from Mets

Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

SAN DIEGO — The scuffling San Diego Padres claimed catcher Gary Sánchez off waivers from the New York Mets.

The two-time All-Star was designated for assignment after playing in three games for the Mets. He went 1 for 6 with three strikeouts and an RBI, looking shaky at times behind the plate.

With the disappointing Padres (24-29) getting meager offensive production at catcher, they hope Sánchez can provide a boost. Austin Nola is batting .131 with three extra-base hits and a paltry .434 OPS in 39 games. His part-time platoon partner, second-stringer Brett Sullivan, is hitting .170 with four extra-base hits and a .482 OPS in 21 games since getting called up from the minors April 16.

Luis Campusano has been on the injured list since April 17 and is expected to be sidelined until around the All-Star break following left thumb surgery.

San Diego is responsible for just over $1 million in salary for Sánchez after assuming his $1.5 million, one-year contract.

The star-studded Padres have lost seven of 11 and are 3-3 on a nine-game East Coast trip. They open a three-game series at Miami.

San Diego becomes the third National League team to take a close look at the 30-year-old Sánchez this season. He spent time in the minors with San Francisco before getting released May 2 and signing a minor league contract a week later with the Mets, who were minus a couple of injured catchers at the time.

After hitting well in a short stint at Triple-A Syracuse, he was promoted to the big leagues May 19. When the Mets reinstated catcher Tomás Nido from the injured list last week, Sánchez was cut.

Sánchez’s best seasons came early in his career with the New York Yankees, where he was runner-up in 2016 AL Rookie of the Year voting and made the AL All-Star team in 2017 and 2019.

He was traded to Minnesota before the 2022 season and batted .205 with 16 homers and 61 RBIs in 128 games last year.

With the Padres, Sánchez could also be a candidate for at-bats at designated hitter, where 42-year-old Nelson Cruz is batting .245 with three homers, 16 RBIs and a .670 OPS, and 37-year-old Matt Carpenter is hitting .174 with four homers, 21 RBIs and a .652 OPS.