Wright Gets An Early Jump On 2006

Wright Was One Of The First At Mini-Camp

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. – Running around in the sun, a glove on his head and a bat under his arm. David Wright wouldn't rather have it any other way.

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The 23-year-old third baseman continues to give off a certain aura as the Mets' Mr. Perfect, reporting to the team's three-day minicamp on the back fields of the Tradition Field complex.

In itself, that might not seem like a great accomplishment, but the enthusiasm and vigor Wright has for even the most mundane exercises are legitimate. No way he could have kept up an act for so long, so convincingly.

Well-perspirated and gulping a bottle of water, Wright – the only position player who spent time with the 2005 Mets to attend the optional camp – said there was no place he'd rather be.

"It's good to get outside, run around and get in the sun," Wright said. "This gets you completely focused on Spring Training – coming down here and smelling the locker room [and] getting on the field.

"It's a different feeling getting outdoors and taking live ground balls, seeing how far the balls go. Things like that, you can't really simulate in the cage. You go out here and get a sweat going, and see all the guys again."

It's a new year, and that means new goals for Wright. His offseason was eventful but filled with business: Wright hosted a celebration gala for the David Wright Foundation in New York last month, raising funds and awareness for multiple sclerosis.

Even a four-day excursion to Las Vegas was official business, as Wright is taking over Braden Looper's duties as an assistant representative for the MLB Players Association.

Now, it's back to balls and strikes. The Mets finished above .500 in 2005, but like manager Willie Randolph, Wright isn't satisfied with third place. In fact, he said he almost felt like he'd let the New York fans down by being part of a non-postseason team.

"It seems like we're headed in the right direction, but it's still not good enough," Wright said. "I want to be the type of team that is a playoff caliber team, year in and year out. You want to be a part of that New York experience, and the New York experience is winning."

With his first St. Lucie reps coming more than a month before pitchers and catchers are to report, Wright has an eager eye toward playing in the World Baseball Classic, if he's selected for the United States team.

He's even volunteering to take extra at-bats on the back minor league fields in St. Lucie if his Team USA demands overrun Mets Spring Training; of course, few would expect anything less from the Mets' budding Mr. Perfect.

"Anytime you get a chance to wear that USA across your chest, it's a special feeling and an honor," Wright said. "You want to go out there and win."

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