NEW YORK -- David Wright doesn't want to think his career is over. Even after a second major surgery in as many years and a third straight season in which he had trouble getting on the field, the Mets captain said Thursday he's ready to try it again in 2018.
"I think I still have something to give," Wright said, in his first public comments since undergoing surgery Tuesday on the rotator cuff in his right shoulder. "I still have the passion and fire in me."
Wright has played just 75 regular-season games since the start of 2015, and his 2017 season consisted of just three games and 10 plate appearances at Class A Advanced St. Lucie. Even as he expressed some confidence Thursday that the latest surgery will enable him to play, Wright admitted he doesn't yet know how fast and how well the recovery will go.
He said he hasn't even discussed with doctors whether he could be ready for Spring Training. He also said that while he still considers himself a third baseman, he will fully understand if the Mets look to fill that spot with somebody else this winter.
"I'll do whatever helps the team out," he said. "If it's time they make a personnel decision, they have to do what's best."
Wright came to Spring Training this season hoping to be the Mets third baseman, but when he tried to play, his shoulder began bothering him. It didn't get better even after an entire summer of rehab, but Wright pressed to play the games at St. Lucie just to see if there was a chance he could return.
He quickly realized there wasn't, not without surgery.
"It got to the point it was just unbearable," he said.
To those who say Wright should simply retire after the latest setback, he counters that he would need the surgery simply to lead the kind of post-baseball life he wants. As long as he was going to have it, he may as well see if it enables him to play next season.
Wright did rule out one thing. He has no interest in managing once his playing career is done.
"No, don't think so," he said.
Wright admitted to having times he felt sorry for himself at times, but he said that just convinced him even more how much he wants to play.
"I still feel there's something I have to give," he said. "The only way to do that is to get on the field."
It will be a while before Wright knows how realistic an idea that is. He was encouraged when Dr. David Altchek told him the surgery went exactly as planned, and that he saw nothing that hadn't shown up on an MRI exam. Altchek told Wright he saw the issues that were keeping him from being able to throw without pain.
"It's fixed," Wright said. "Hopefully I can start throwing pain-free."
Even if the shoulder is fixed, questions will remain about the rest of Wright's body. He was diagnosed two years ago with spinal stenosis, a degenerative condition in his back, and he needed neck surgery in 2016.
He's 34 years old, and it's understandable why many wonder if his career is over. It's also understandable why he would rather not think that way.
"A lot of these questions are like I'm dying," he said at the end of Thursday's news conference. "I'm not dying."
He's not dying, and he hopes his baseball health will eventually allow him to keep playing.
Danny Knobler is a contributor to MLB.com based in New York. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.