Notes: Wright sets club hit streak mark

Notes: Wright sets club hit streak mark

MIAMI, Fla. -- David Wright, who set the Mets' all-time hitting streak with a single in his second at-bat in Wednesday night's game, said the 25-game hitting streak is of no concern to him.

"It's not a big deal at all," the third baseman said before the game against the Marlins at Dolphin Stadium. "It's something that's not important to me. I just go play the game. Whatever happens, I'm not going to lose any sleep about it.

Wright has hit in 13 straight games this season and 12 from last season. Hubie Brooks (1984) and Mike Piazza (1999) also had 24-game hitting streaks, both in a single season. So Wright's record will have an asterisk, meaning it required two seasons.

Asked beforehand if setting the Mets' all-time hitting streak has any meaning to him, Wright said, "It's fun, but it's not important. On your list of things in this game that are important, a hitting streak does not rank up there."

A curious aspect of Wright's start this season is that he hasn't hit a home run, after he hit 53 over the previous two seasons.

"I don't know," Wright said. "The countdown is on."

Asked if it bothers him that he is without a homer, Wright said it does not.

"The big thing to me, as a reason for concern, is driving in people when they're in scoring position, especially with two outs," he said. "I've had some chances to drive in some big runs with two outs -- and I haven't done the job. That's why I'm in the [No.] 5 hole and I need to do a better job of that."

He paused a moment, then said, "As far as home runs, I could care less about home runs. If I don't hit any home runs, that's fine with me -- as long as I drive in runs and get some big hits."

Manager Willie Randolph believes Wright has only just begun to show his potential.

"Under the circumstances he's gotten his hits and kept the doctor away," the manager said. "But I don't think he's in prime condition. I think he's going to get better."

Lo Duca right back in there: After getting hit on the right index finger on a foul tip Tuesday night in Philadelphia in the fourth inning and being removed from the game, catcher Paul Lo Duca appeared a likely candidate to miss at least a game or two. So much for appearances.

Lo Duca was in the lineup for the Mets as they began their two-game series Wednesday night against the Marlins.

Lo Duca said he received treatment on the finger, but no X-rays.

"[It] feels great," he said. "It's awesome."

He was still a little annoyed at himself for leaving his right hand open as Tom Glavine threw a pitch. The Phillies' Chase Utley fouled it off his bare hand.

"I keep thinking I have my hand behind my back and sometimes I don't," he said. "I'm going to make extra sure tonight."

Randolph was asked if he might have given Lo Duca the night off had the Mets not already experienced weather interruptions in their schedule.

"Look, it's as simple as he took a foul ball off his finger and it was a little sore," Randolph said. "That's why I took him out -- it was cold. He comes in the next day and said he's ready to play, that it's nothing serious. It's a bump, like anyone would have. He's able to grab a bat and grip a ball. So it's as simple as that."

And Lo Duca, known for his bat control, found himself hitting in his familiar No. 2 spot in the batting order.

Double plays galore: Quietly, the Mets have turned a Major League-high 21 double plays through 12 games, five ahead of the closest team, the Phillies. With the club's power-hitting still a little sporadic, it's one of the main reasons it has gotten off to a nice start.

"One pitch, two outs," bench coach Jerry Manuel said, smiling, at the wonders of throwing a double-play pitch.

Manuel said credit goes in part to the pitchers for holding runners on first base, setting up a possible double play, and for keeping their pitches low. The other big part is having infielders who are "good athletes."

Shortstop Jose Reyes and second baseman Jose Valentin are in their second season of working together, and Manuel said the veteran Valentin has been a good influence on Reyes.

Valentin said for him, this melding with Reyes has been a matter of "right spot, right time" in his career.

"During batting practice, we work on things," Valentin said. "Reyes is so fast, so quick, and with such a great arm, I just want to get him the ball in plenty of time so he can make the adjustment. He's got a great arm and he has a great feel now for just how hard he has to make his throw."

The Mets infielders meet before every game to discuss what their defensive strategy will be on certain hitters.

"We're getting our fielders ready to make plays," Randolph said. "We take a lot of pride in our defense. It's nothing we talk [to the media] about, but from Day 1 at Spring Training that's all we talk about. We make sure this is important, this is a priority, let's focus on it."

Randolph was just warming to the subject.

"It's a matter of everybody buying into our defense and how important it is," he said. "Defense is contagious like anything else. When you take pride in defense as a team, everyone wants ownership of making a play. Everyone wants to get the high-fives."

Added Randolph: "It's subtle and it helps win ballgames."

Up next: The Mets' Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez, who lives in Miami in the offseason, will face fellow right-hander Rick Vanden Hurk in Thursday's series finale at 7:05 p.m. ET at Dolphin Stadium.

Hernandez (1-1, 4.00 ERA) had an impressive start, but had trouble in his last outing. Vanden Hurk (0-0, 3.86) is still something of a mystery, having pitched only 25 innings in the low Minors last season

Charlie Nobles is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.