Duda scratched with lingering back issue

Mets concerned that injury could be more serious than initially thought

May 21st, 2016

NEW YORK -- Mets first baseman Lucas Duda was a late scratch from Saturday's lineup with a back injury that may be more serious than the team initially believed.

After going for an MRI earlier Saturday, Duda is now scheduled to undergo further testing in the coming days. In the interim, doctors have instructed him to sit out at least Saturday and Sunday against the Brewers. The Mets fear that Duda has a disk issue in his lower back, according to manager Terry Collins.

"It's pretty concerning," Collins said. "He's tried to go out the last couple games and play and it's still bothering him."

Since hitting his seventh home run on May 4, Duda is batting .167 with a .286 on-base percentage and a .214 slugging mark. He sat out Tuesday and Wednesday against the Nationals with what the Mets called lower back stiffness, then returned to go 0-for-4 with three strikeouts the following night. Duda played again on Friday, finishing 1-for-3, and was originally in Saturday's lineup as well. But the Mets scratched him approximately three hours prior to first pitch.

In Duda's place, Eric Campbell started at first base. Though Alejandro De Aza has recently begun taking ground balls at first, the Mets have few realistic alternatives to Campbell until Wilmer Flores returns from the disabled list. Flores is due to start a rehab assignment Tuesday, but will not be eligible to return from the DL until Friday at the earliest.

That means the Mets may need to start Campbell next week in Washington, in addition to this weekend against the Brewers. Campbell entered Saturday's play with a .592 OPS.

"Having him out of the lineup is a huge loss for us, especially against the right-handed pitching we're going to see -- two games here and two more in D.C.," Collins said of Duda, referring specifically to Washington's Stephen Strasburg and Tanner Roark. "It's tough for us. But we've got to look at the big picture, and that is we can't aggravate this thing to where it may come up to be a major issue. Not that it won't. We just hope that it won't."