PHOENIX -- Even though injuries are thinning the New York Mets' ranks of available outfielders, Lucas Duda is not an option to play the outfield on a regular or even semi-regular basis, manager Terry Collins said.
Duda played left field on an emergency basis for the final three innings of the Mets' 7-3 victory Monday in Arizona, but it will take another emergency to send Duda out there again, although he told reporters he is more than willing.
"We've made the commitment to play him at first base," Collins said of Duda. "You want to keep him as positive as you can, and I think putting him back in left field will take away a little bit of that positive 'mo' that he's got going right now."
Duda is off to a strong start at the plate, hitting .275 (11-for-40) with three home runs and eight RBIs. He tied a career high with his fourth four-hit game in the first game of a three-game series at Arizona on Monday.
Duda played the majority of his four-year career in the outfield, with 115 starts in right field, 108 in left field and 79 at first base. All that changed when the Mets chose Duda as the starter at first base over Ike Davis in spring after the offseason acquisitions of free agents Curtis Granderson and Chris Young and the 2013 emergence of Juan Lagares put a crowd in the outfield.
"I think it helps, because he is comfortable," Collins said of Duda sticking to first base. "We have seen in the past where I thought a little bit his offense struggled a little bit because he is so concerned in playing left field or playing right field. He's very comfortable at first."
Lagares was placed on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday, a day after suffering feeling discomfort in his right hamstring while running to first base on a force play at second. Granderson suffered left rib cage, forearm and knee contusions when he ran into a chain-link fence in right field Monday, and was held out of the lineup for the final two games of the Arizona series.
Kirk Niuwenhuis, recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas on Tuesday, started the final two games of the series in center field, with Eric Young Jr. in left field and reserve Andrew Brown in right. Chris Young is expected to be activated Friday after a stay on the 15-day disabled list with groin injury.
STREAK: Won three
NEXT: Mets (LHP Jon Niese, 0-1, 3.46 ERA) at Braves (RHP Aaron Harang, 2-1, 0.96 ERA)
--OF Chris Young joined the Mets in Arizona for the team flight to Atlanta to open a three-game series Friday, when Young is expected to be activated from the disabled list. Young, who had been on the DL with a tight groin, was 8-for-12 with two homers, seven runs and five RBIs in three rehab games at Triple-A Las Vegas. "I felt pretty good, but it wasn't so much about the hitting," Young said. "It was more about getting my leg right and trying to get comfortable running the bases again. Normally when you pull a muscle, there is a normal adjustment period that you have to go through to feel comfortable with running again and feel comfortable pushing yourself. It got better every day. Probably run around a little today and tomorrow and get ready for Friday." Young started and hit fifth in his first game for the Mets on April 2 but left after one inning with the groin injury. "I'm definitely not counting that first one," Young said.
--RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka joined the team Wednesday when his contract was purchased from Triple-A Las Vegas. He will pitch out of the bullpen, Mets genereal manager Sandy Alderson said. "Coming out of the bullpen is definitely something new to me," Matsuzaka said. "But I understand what is expected of me, so I just have to go along and do the best that I can and pick things up as I go along." RHP Jenrry Mejia beat out Matsuzaka for the final spot in the starting rotation in late spring, but Mejia was forced out of a 9-0 victory against Arizona on Tuesday because of a torn blister on his right middle finger and is to test the finger in a bullpen session Friday. Matsuzaka pitched seven shutout innings in his last start April 12.
--LHP John Lannan outrighted to Triple-A Las Vegas on Wednesday to make room on the roster for RHP Daisuke Matzusaka, whose contract was purchased from Las Vegas. Lannan was 1-0 with a 15.75 ERA in five relief appearances, giving up three home runs in four innings. "The team was doing well and I wasn't really contributing and they decided to go in a different direction. I completely understand," Lannan said. "Back to the drawing board." Lannan has 72 hours to decide whether to report to the minor leagues become a free agent. "I going to take that 72 hours, talk to my agent, and see what the plan is, if there is any with the Mets." Lannan is 46-58 with 4.18 ERA in his eight years in the major leagues.
--RHP Bartolo Colon was dealing with a back issue in his last start Sunday, according to media reports, when he gave up nine runs in five innings against the Los Angeles Angels, who hit back-to-back-to-back home runs in the first inning. Colon is expected to make his next start Saturday in Atlanta, manager Terry Collins said Wednesday.
--CF Curtis Granderson (left rib cage, forearm, knee contusions) was held out of the lineup for a second straight day, with reserve OF Andrew Brown making his second consecutive start in right. Granderson was removed in the sixth inning Monday after suffering his injuries when he collided with the chain-link fence in right field while tracking Arizona C Miguel Montero's double at Chase Field.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "It all kind of clicked today. It's been pretty frustrating lately. Even though the first couple games I thought I pitched pretty well, it ended on a sour note. To come out today and at least finish off the seventh inning for the first time this year felt pretty good." -- RHP Dillon Gee, who held a late lead for his first victory of the season Wednesday.
--RF Curtis Granderson (left ribcage, left forearm and left knee contusions) left the April 14 game. X-rays were negative, but he was held out of the lineup April 15-16 and is day-to-day.
--RHP Jenrry Mejia (blister) was removed after five shutout innings April 15 when a blister tore open on the top of his right middle finger. "He's got one hell of a blister," manager Terry Collins said. "Tore it up completely. Ripped open. I would say there is a concern."
--CF Juan Lagares (right hamstring strain) was placed on the 15-day disabled list on April 15 after feeling tightness in his right leg while running out a ground ball in the seventh inning April 14.
--LF Chris Young (right quad strain) went on the 15-day disabled list April 3. He began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Las Vegas on April 13.
--RHP Bobby Parnell (Tommy John surgery in April 2014) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 1. He will miss the entire season.
--RHP Matt Harvey (Tommy John surgery in October 2013) went on the 60-day disabled list March 30. He was throwing off flat ground in Port St. Lucie, Fla., during spring training, and he will rehab in New York during the season. He hopes to return to the majors by September, but he is more likely to remain sidelined until Opening Day 2015.
RHP Dillon Gee
LHP Jonathon Niese
RHP Bartolo Colon
RHP Zack Wheeler
RHP Jennry Mejia
RHP Jose Valverde (closer)
RHP Jeurys Familia
LHP Scott Rice
RHP Carlos Torres
RHP Daisuke Matzusaka
RHP Gonzalez Germen
RHP Kyle Farnsworth
1B Ike Davis
2B Daniel Murphy
SS Ruben Tejada
3B David Wright
INF Josh Satin
INF Omar Quintanilla
LF Eric Young Jr.
CF Kirk Nieuwenhuis
RF Curtis Granderson
OF Lucas Duda
OF Andrew Brown
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- Terry Collins
- Lucas Duda
- Daisuke Matsuzaka