Lagares, Duda out of lineup with nagging injuries
PITTSBURGH -- A Mets team struggling to score runs sustained two additional blows before Sunday's series finale at PNC Park, when first baseman Lucas Duda and center fielder Juan Lagares reported soreness due to nagging injuries. The Mets held both players out of their starting lineup.
Duda felt some hamstring tightness after sliding into second base in the fourth inning of Saturday's loss to the Pirates. By far the Mets' most productive hitter this season, batting .293 with five home runs and an .862 OPS (which is more than 120 points higher than any qualified teammate), Duda stressed that his absence from the lineup was precautionary.
"It's not really a big deal," said Duda, who stayed in Saturday's game after feeling the tightness in his hamstring. "It's just one of those things. I'll take a day and be back in there [Monday]."
Duda's manager was less convinced.
"He denied it to me," Terry Collins said of the hamstring injury. "I sat right there and watched it. I know when I grab something, there's a reason why."
The Mets never planned on inserting Duda into their Sunday lineup, but originally did have Lagares playing center field. That changed when Lagares received treatment, but still felt discomfort beneath his right armpit and in his elbow -- two problem areas for him throughout the young season.
"I said, 'If you want me to go out there, I'll go,'" Lagares said, noting that swinging a bat bothers him in particular. "They just don't want me to go out there and get hurt."
The losses of Duda and Lagares, even if only temporary, further undermined a Mets team playing most of this season without starting third baseman David Wright (spinal stenosis) and catcher Travis d'Arnaud (fractured right pinkie). The club has struggled to recover from those injuries, entering Sunday's play with an average of three runs per game over their last 25.
Collins said he felt compelled to take several of his veteran players aside on Saturday and talk to them in particular about Wright, who was shut down from his rehab on Saturday due to continued lower back discomfort.
"It is deflating a little bit," Collins said. "We were thinking he was going to be back here in five or six days, and now we don't know when that's going to take place. But you've got to deal with adversity at this level, and you've got to continue to pick yourself up and move forward. So we'll do that."