Wright Flourishing For U.S. On WBC Stage

By Jon Heyman | Baseball Insider for CBSSPORTS.COM
David Wright #5 of the United States looks on during a World Baseball Classic second round game against  Puerto Rico at Marlins Park on March 12, 2013 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

David Wright #5 of the United States looks on during a World Baseball Classic second round game against Puerto Rico at Marlins Park on March 12, 2013 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

MIAMI (CBS SPORTS) David Wright, or Captain America as he was accurately dubbed during the TV broadcast of USA’s 7-1 victory over Puerto Rico, has long been known as just about the biggest enthusiast on Team USA. But it’s more than that. The instant MLB Network-inspired monicker works, thanks to Wright’s plain-as-day patriotism and production.

Wright talked about how he benefits by Joe Torre’s decision to sandwich him between two left-handed hitters — the great Joe Mauer and Eric Hosmer, or “Hoss” as Wright warmly called him — but everyone on Team USA is benefiting by osmosis from Wright, whose natural leadership abilities are obscured by being the best player forever on a perennial also-ran.

For years, Mets owner Jeff Wilpon has glowingly and occasionally referred to Wright as “our Jeter,” and if the rest of the Mets roster could one day approximate the team across town, maybe folks would understand the reference even more. Folks who might not follow the Mets but are catching the World Baseball Classic are getting a taste of Wright’s wonderful ability and matching persona.

Wright has tied a WBC record set by Ken Griffey Jr. and Korea’s Seung Yeop Lee with 10 RBI already, thanks partly to batting behind Mauer, who is on base just about every at-bat (Mauer walked three times to load the bases for Wright against Puerto Rico alone), but thanks also to Wright’s ability to rise to the occasion. This, of course, is the one big occasion for the lifetime Met since 2006, way back when Puerto Rico star Carlos Beltran was a teammate. (Yes, it’s been seven seasons since the Mets made the playoffs.)

“I’m so proud of him,” said Team USA third base coach Willie Randolph, who managed Wright for the Mets. “David is maturing into a leader. He always had it in him, but we had so many veterans when he came up he was hesitant. He didn’t want to step on anyone’s toes.”

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