07/05/09 9:07 AM ET
Franco apologizes to Wright for comments
Former Mets closer questioned slugger's leadership abilities
By Ed Eagle / MLB.com
During an interview Tuesday on Sirius XM Radio, Franco said that the Mets were in need of a leader, adding that it was up to Wright to fill that void. Franco, who is now special advisor with the team, also said he encouraged the 26-year-old Wright during Spring Training to take on a larger leadership role in the clubhouse.
"I tried talking to him and tell him to come forward and be that guy," Franco said during the interview. "But I think David feels that being that he's such a young player, and you have the [Carlos] Delgados and [Gary] Sheffields and veteran guys like that, he's afraid that they'll look at him like, 'Be quiet and sit down.' "
Wright, who had publicly dismissed the comments earlier this week, said he received an apology from Franco via voicemail.
"Johnny and I have a great relationship," Wright told the New York Times. "I'm glad he called and apologized. I've always respected his opinion. But he's not in here on a day-to-day basis, so he can't really know what's going on."
Wright said that he was unaffected by Franco's criticisms because they came from outside the clubhouse.
"If it was one of the guys in here that said something like that, it would be one thing," Wright said. "But when it's someone from the outside, I really don't feel the need to defend myself. It doesn't bother me at all."
Sheffield, who is in his first season with the Mets, told the Times that Wright has no problem stepping up when his leadership is needed.
"I've been around this team long enough now to know that if something needs to be taken care of, David will do it," he said.
Ed Eagle is a reporter and producer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.