MIAMI -- A sprint to the plate in a Florida State League game convinced David Wright he was on the path to recovery from a back injury that sidelined him for two months.
Wright slid home to score on a close play and felt fine afterward. He played five more games with Class-A St. Lucie before being activated Friday by the New York Mets.
The five-time All-Star third baseman was in the lineup batting cleanup for the start of a weekend series at Florida.
"It's almost like a second opening day for me," Wright said. "I'm excited to get going."
Wright's return left the Mets that much closer to fielding the lineup they envisioned in spring training. NL batting leader Jose Reyes and slugger Carlos Beltran returned earlier this week.
"When you have your star players, it's a lot easier to make out your lineup," manager Terry Collins said. "It lifts the energy of the club. Now that some of the main guys are back, they've got to take over. That's what they're here for."
Not that the lineup is set for good. Beltran has been the subject of trade rumors with the July 31 deadline for non-waiver deals approaching.
While Wright was out, the Mets struggled to clear .500 and stay in the playoff race.
"Hopefully I can come in and provide a boost to the offense," he said.
Wright played in discomfort for weeks and was batting only .226 with six home runs when he went on the disabled list on May 18 because of a stress fracture in his lower back.
But he is a career .302 hitter and found himself batting behind Beltran on Friday.
"I put him in the middle of the lineup where he belongs," Collins said. "I'm well aware this is not the Florida State League. There will be some adjustments he'll make. But he has been here long enough and he's such a good player, he knows how to make them."
Collins said he expects Wright to play every day. The third baseman played six consecutive days with St. Lucie.
"My first at-bat there, I got on second base and scored on a base hit," Wright said. "It was good. It was a bang-bang play at the plate, and I knew from there it was going to be OK."
His time in St. Lucie also included two sessions against All-Star teammate Johan Santana, who is working his way back from shoulder surgery.
"He struck me out the first time," Wright said with a grin. "I got him the second time, though. That little extra oomph isn't there for him, but that's expected. There's no question he's building momentum."
To make room on the roster for Wright, the Mets designated utilityman Nick Evans for assignment. They also claimed outfielder Mike Baxter off waivers from the San Diego Padres and optioned him to St. Lucie.