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Thursday, July 26, 2012
At first, Duda a corner man for Buffalo

By Adam Rubin

PHOENIX -- Terry Collins spoke with Wally Backman on Thursday morning and asked the Buffalo manager to use Lucas Duda in left and right field during Duda's demotion. But, Collins added, if Duda looks like he is struggling in the outfield, move him to first base, so he can be at ease and concentrate on hitting.

"It's a lot easier to knock a ball down and flip it to the pitcher than it is to have a ball skip by you because you made a bad read and now instead of a single it's a triple -- especially when he's there working on his bat," Collins said. "He's got to be comfortable, so when he gets in that batter's box, that becomes the primary focus. He cannot worry about making a mistake defensively and then come in and say, 'Well, I've got to make up for that error. I've got to hit this ball out of the park.'

"It's about Lucas Duda finding that stroke. ... When he comes back, obviously we don't have the DH. He's got to play the outfield. That's where he’s going to be, because Ike [Davis] is going to play first."

Backman placed Duda in right field on Thursday night in Louisville, in Duda's first minor league game since June 9, 2011.

Duda was hitting .241 with 12 homers and 44 RBIs in 307 at-bats this season with the Mets. He was hitting .140 with one RBI in July.

"He's working on a couple of different things mechanically to try to eliminate some of the movement he has in his pre-pitch setup," hitting coach Dave Hudgens said. "He's got his knee cocked that he uses, and a toe tap. There are a lot of things going on with his body. So we're trying to eliminate some of the movement that he has and keep his head, hopefully, more still so he can stay on top of the baseball and shorten things up a little bit."

Said Collins: "Lucas Duda is frustrated. Lucas Duda is mad at himself. His attitude, he's as fine a human being as I've ever met."