NEW YORK (AP) Hoping David Wright can find ''magic fingers somewhere in California'' to cure the Mets captain's ailing back, New York general manager Sandy Alderson has sent the third baseman across the country to work with the staff of specialist Dr. Robert Watkins.
Wright hasn't played since pulling his right hamstring against Philadelphia on April 14. His rehabilitation was put on hold May 6 when back pain developed. While Wright resumed baseball activities on May 18 at their training complex in Port St. Lucie, Florida, the Mets said Saturday the seven-time All-Star felt lingering back pain and was diagnosed with stenosis, a narrowing of the spinal column.
''None of the doctors at this point have given us any indication that this is a long-term problem that can't be managed,'' Alderson said before Monday's 6-3 win over Philadelphia. ''I'm hopeful that we will see him back much sooner than some have speculated.''
Wright already had been working on a physical-therapy plan developed by the staff of Watkins, one of the world's leading back experts.
''I think we'll know more in the next two or three or four days, after David arrives in California and we get some more input from Dr. Watkins and his office,'' Alderson said.
Wright didn't play after Sept. 8 last year because of inflammation in his left rotator cuff. He hit .269 with eight homers and 63 RBIs, slumping to a .238 average with 15 RBIs after the All-Star break.
Daniel Murphy and Eric Campbell have seen most of the time at third base in Wright's absence, and Alderson admitted ''there does come a time when we'll have to consider'' a more long-term solution.
''This is not the time of year when most clubs are looking to make deals,'' he said.