Duda earns spot as everyday first baseman
NEW YORK -- No more sharing time, no more mixing and matching. Starting Friday, Lucas Duda will be the Mets' starting first baseman.
A source confirmed Thursday afternoon that Duda will receive an extended run of starts at first, after sitting out two of the Mets' first three games. Manager Terry Collins said in his postgame press conference Thursday that he planned to name one of his two left-handed first basemen the dedicated starter, but declined to name which one.
"We've got to see one of these guys play, and if he doesn't get the job done then we'll shift gears," Collins said. "But we've got to give some ample at-bats to have a better idea."
Those at-bats will go to Duda, despite the fact that Ike Davis owns a superior big league track record (32 homers in 2012) and larger salary ($3.5 million), and outperformed Duda in a small spring sample.
Duda is 0-for-6 this season with three strikeouts and a walk, compared to 1-for-3 with zero whiffs and one walk for Davis. Duda may be coming off a better season than Davis, though everything is relative; both players were demoted to Triple-A Las Vegas during the summer.
The Mets are scheduled to face right-handed starters in each of their next six games against the Reds and Braves, giving Duda an uninterrupted run of at-bats. Despite the new arrangement, it is likely that Josh Satin will continue to see regular playing time against left-handed starters. But the Mets won't see one until next weekend in Anaheim, when they can put multiple first basemen in the lineup thanks to the designated hitter rule.