A rib injury that prevented New York Mets third baseman David Wright from playing in Team USA's game Thursday night likely will sideline him for the remainder of the World Baseball Classic.
Wright was prepared to play against the Dominican Republic when he was scratched from the lineup. The U.S. team faces Puerto Rico on Friday in an elimination game. Should the U.S. advance, the WBC semifinals are Sunday and Monday in San Francisco.
"I'm optimistic that they'll allow me to come back and rejoin these guys," Wright said before Team USA lost 3-1 to the Dominicans. "I wanted to play tonight, but I understand the decision. I'm disappointed. That goes without saying. But I completely understand the direction that they're going."
The rib discomfort started about a week ago during Team USA workouts in Arizona. The Mets were concerned enough Friday to send Wright to New York for an examination by team doctors. He is scheduled to return to Florida on Saturday.
"In terms of the injury and it's severity, we just don't know any more than David has related already publicly," Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said. "So until hes's actually examined, we won't know the exact nature of the injury. We won't know the extent of the injury. And we won't have any sort of timetable for his return."
Under WBC rules, the U.S. team can't replace Wright on Friday night, but, should it advance, a sub could be added to the roster. The MLB Network reported that the players' association has checked with San Diego's Chase Headley about replacing Wright if the U.S. advances.
Team USA manager Joe Torre wasn't optimistic that Wright would be able to return.
Wright hit .438 with a winning grand slam, two doubles, 10 RBI, four runs scored and 12 total bases in four WBC games.
He was replaced at third base on Thursday by Arizona's Willie Bloomquist.