06/21/2004 6:04 PM ET
Wright makes Futures Game
Third baseman expected to join Mets by September
By Kevin T. Czerwinski / MLB.com
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NEW YORK -- David Wright can't list Major League Baseball player on his resume just yet. New York's top prospect, however, can call himself All-Star.
Wright, 21, was tabbed on Monday as a member of the United States team that will square off against the World All-Stars on July 11 at Minute Maid Park in the New York Mercantile Exchange All-Star Futures Game. The game features the top U.S. and international minor league prospects competing as part of the three-day celebration of the Major League All-Star game.
Joining Wright, who is currently at Triple-A Norfolk, in the game will be New York pitching prospect Yusmeiro Petit, who is pitching for Class A Capital City and dominating the South Atlantic League. The Venezuelan native will play for the World All-Stars. Ken Oberkfell, the manager of the Double-A Binghamton Mets, was chosen as a coach for the World All-Stars.
Wright is hitting .346 (9-for-26) with seven runs scored, two homers and four RBIs in seven games with the Tides. He was promoted to the International League last week after tearing up the Eastern League with Binghamton. He hit .363 with 10 homers and 40 RBIs under Oberkfell with a .619 slugging percentage and a .467 on-base percentage.
"I don't think you can ever expect an honor like this," said Wright, who was a Florida State League All-Star last year. "I've worked hard and this is the culmination of that hard work and dedication. It's a real honor to be up there with those names, an unbelievable honor.
"Anytime you get picked for something that has your country's name across the front of the jersey it's special. I know it's not the Olympics but it's very special to go in and represent your country against the World Team."
That he was able to participate in Major League Spring Training this season played a huge role in the success Wright has had this year. A former top pick -- he was chosen as a sandwich pick with the 38th selection of the 2001 draft -- he had enjoyed a solid minor league career, but it wasn't until he played in the Arizona Fall League and then followed that up with a strong Spring Training that his stock began to soar.
Wright hit .341 with 15 RBIs in the Fall League and then hit .412 (6-for-17) with an RBI this spring as other teams began to inquire about his availability. New York general manager Jim Duquette has flat out refused to deal Wright, who was most recently the target of the Kansas City Royals in talks involving Carlos Beltran.
"It's an honor to be mentioned in the Beltran and [Alfonso] Soriano trade talks," Wright said. "But I love being a Met and want to get to the big leagues as a Met. But it is an honor to be mentioned with those names."
It's no longer a matter of if in regards to Wright's arrival in Queens. The big question is when. He'll definitely be called up when rosters are expanded in September. But if he shows he can handle Triple-A pitching as well as he did Double-A pitching over an extended period of time, seeing him in the big leagues in either July or August wouldn't be out of the question.
"As of right now, I'm very happy at Norfolk," said Wright, who lives and played his high school ball in nearby Chesapeake, Va. "I don't sit around and spend as much time thinking about it (reaching the Majors) as much as you might think. I have 26 at-bats above Double-A ball.
"Whatever happens, happens. I can't control what happens in New York or anywhere else. I'm just trying to do everything I can now to help (the Tides) win. I'll try to get my feet wet at Triple-A and take it from there."
Petit, meanwhile, is 9-1 through 14 starts with a 2.10 ERA. He has 112 strikeouts in 77 innings while walking 21.
Goose Gossage, a nine-time All-Star, will manage the U.S. team while six-time All-Star Fernando Valenzuela will skipper the World team. Grant Roberts, Jose Reyes and Jae Seo are Mets who have played in the Futures game. Reyes won the MVP in the 2002 game in Milwaukee.
This and that: A pair of New York relievers began their Major League rehab assignments on Monday with the Mets Gulf Coast League affiliate. Scott Strickland, who underwent Tommy John surgery on June 17, 2003, threw 11 pitches in a scoreless inning of work against the Dodgers' GCL affiliate. He didn't allow any hits or walks and struck out one.
Orber Moreno, meanwhile, didn't fare as well. The hard-throwing right-hander, who has been on the DL since June 10 with a strained right shoulder, lasted only 2/3 of an inning, throwing 30 pitches. He allowed four hits and three runs, all earned, while walking one and striking out one.
Kevin Czerwinski is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.