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Step in the ‘Wright’ direction as Chesapeake’s David Wright begins to throw

David Wright of the New York Mets. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

NEW YORK – On National Smile Day, we’re reminded of a popular quote: Smile even if it hurts.

David Wright has reason to smile. He’s also hurting, and has been for a while.

Thursday, the Hickory High School alumnus played catch at Citi Field hours before his New York Mets played host to the Chicago Cubs. The activity may seem minor, but it’s a major step for the 35-year old Wright.

“It felt good getting back out there,” Wright told MLB.com. “It’s my first time putting on my cleats in a while, and putting on the uniform, so it certainly felt good to do that. I’ve been down this road enough to know that you never really know what tomorrow brings,” Wright added. “It was nice to get out there today. It was nice to throw for a little bit. I think every day I’m going to try to start ramping it up more and more, and see how my shoulder and my back respond. It’s Day 1 of baseball stuff. Hopefully, more days to come where things continue to go well.”

The Mets third baseman has been limited to just 75 games the past three seasons due to neck, shoulder and back surgeries. Wright has not played in a Major League game since May 27, 2016.

Earlier this year, Wright admitted he’s on “an uphill climb” to return to the diamond.

In 13 seasons, Wright has 242 career home runs and 970 career runs batted in. Wright played in just 38 games in 2015 and only 37 in ’16. According to Spotrac, the Mets owe him $47 million from 2018 to 2020.