David Wright
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David Wright will begin minor league rehab assignment on Sunday

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Mets third baseman David Wright is poised to begin a rehab assignment with High-A Lucie, the team announced Saturday. It hasn’t been two weeks since club GM John Ricco said the infielder was “coming up against the clock” in order to play this season, and while there still doesn’t appear to be a definite timetable for his return to the majors, it’s a big step forward as he looks to resume his pro ball career.

Wright, 35, hasn’t played in a major league game since May 2016 and hasn’t appeared at any level of professional baseball since last August. His injuries have been numerous and varied; in the years following his final game in the majors, he’s suffered multiple back, shoulder, and neck issues and undergone neck surgery, right rotator cuff surgery, and a laminotomy procedure on his lower back. He’s been limited in his baseball activities since then, naturally, only taking batting practice and fielding grounders on a few occasions at Citi Field, and finally appears healthy enough to take the next step in his recovery process.

Of course, there’s no way to guarantee that future injuries aren’t in Wright’s future or that he’ll make it back to the majors anytime soon — let alone return to the .300+ average, 30+ homers, and 100+ RBI he posted in his prime. For now, he’ll work on making smaller gains, starting with the five innings he’s scheduled to play during High-A Lucie’s match against the Phillies’ Clearwater Threshers on Sunday.

Mariano Rivera awarded Presidential Medal of Freedom

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Hall of Famer Mariano Rivera was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Trump on Monday. The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the highest civilian honor to “individuals who have made exceptional contributions to the security or national interests of America, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.”

Babe Ruth was posthumously awarded the medal last year. Yogi Berra got it posthumously in 2015, and Willie Mays and Vin Scully were also awarded it the same year.

Trump and Rivera are close. Rivera, who is from Panama, has been criticized for his relationship with Trump. Defending that relationship, Rivera said on Fox & Friends in July, “Mr. President Trump to me, he was a friend of mine before he became president. So, because he’s president I will turn my back on him? No. I respect him. I respect what he does and I believe he’s doing the best for the United States of America.”

Rivera, 49, served on Trump’s Opioid and Drug Abuse Commission in 2017. In 2018, Rivera co-chaired Trump’s Council on Sports, Fitness, and Nutrition. Rivera also co-hosted a fundraiser dinner for the America First Action PAC, which supports Trump and was also hosted by Donald Trump Jr. and Fox News personality Kimberly Guilfoyle.

This past January, Rivera became the first player ever inducted into the Hall of Fame unanimously. He is the all-time leader in saves with 652 as well as adjusted ERA (also known as ERA+) at 205. He retired with a 2.21 ERA and 1,173 strikeouts across 1,283 2/3 innings, spanning 19 seasons with the Yankees.